A NATIONAL cycling charity has joined the campaign for improvements to an accident blackspot in the Hampshire countryside.

Members of Cycling UK have spoken out following the latest in a series of collisions at Ipley Crossroads in the New Forest.

Three years ago the isolated junction was named as one of the worst in the country for crashes involving cyclists following two fatal accidents.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Ipley was the scene of another serious incident last month.

Dave Bensley, a member of Southampton Cycling and Touring Club, suffered serious leg and neck injuries in an accident with a car.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: "It’s been clear for almost a decade that this junction poses a real safety risk to both visitors and residents of the New Forest, especially cyclists.

"The slow progress towards improving the layout unfortunately means that that lives continue to be put at risk every day.

“Cycling UK appreciates Hampshire County Council is working with local partners, including the Verderers, to improve the crossroads, but until this work begins we would strongly urge the council to take immediate steps to prevent another collision."

Campaigners say the excellent visibility at the junction tends to lull drivers into a false sense of security.

They are calling for measures which would forcing motorists to either stop or reduce their speed, making them more likely to spot an oncoming cyclist.

Mr Dollimore said chicanes should be built on the approach to the crossroads.

Others have called for the junction to be converted into a staggered crossroads - something the county council says it is already considering.

Cllr Rob Humby, the county council's executive member for environment and transport, said: “Part of the problem is the good visibility and open vista, with drivers approaching the crossroads misjudging the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles.

"Following a recent review we installed a change in priority, requiring vehicles to stop rather than give way.

"We continue to work with New Forest District Council and the police to explore what can be done, including longer term proposals to stagger the junction."

But Cllr Humby warned that the land surrounding the crossroads was protected by national and European environmental laws.

He said: "We will require separate consent under this legislation for any works beyond the existing road, and this will need to be taken into account as we look at design options and the business case for any improvements.”