MYSTERY surrounds as to how a motorcyclist veered into the path of an oncoming vehicle on a Hampshire road when he died in a head-on crash.

Southampton Coroner’s Court heard how unemployed Michael Smith, pictured, from the Isle of Wight, died on the A35 when his Yamaha 550 motorcycle went into the path of a silvercoloured Mercedes Vito van.

Michael, who lived at Tennyson Road in Freshwater, was one of a spate of riders who died in a series of accidents over a ten-day period on Hampshire’s roads last summer.

The 50-year-old had been driving through the New Forest on July 7 to catch a ferry from Southampton after visiting family in Wiltshire when the smash happened near the New Forest Golf Club.

Van driver Carl Collier was travelling in the opposite direction to his home in Lymington.

No one had seen the bike seconds before it veered across the front of the van, leading deputy coroner Gordon Denson to speculate an animal may have ventured out of the trees on either side of the road.

But recording a determination of accidental death, Mr Denson added: “Sadly it is one of those incidents where we will never know the answer as to why this collision occurred.”