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9 July 2013, 17:18 | Updated: 9 July 2013, 17:23
The family of an Isle of Wight man who died in a collision in the New Forest have paid tribute to him.
Michael Smith, 50, from Tennyson Road, Freshwater, died when he lost control of his blue Yamaha 550 and struck a silver Mercedes Vito van travelling in the opposite direction.
He was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision that occurred shortly before 10pm on Tuesday (July 2) on the A35 halfway between Ashurst and Lyndhurst.
In a statement, his brother Richard Smith said:
“Michael as a person loved life but life didn't always love him back which led some to believe that Mike was a gruff unhappy person!! Nothing could be further from the truth. Mike would help anyone with anything and would always do it willingly. He would work flat out all day for a thank you.
“Family was always very important to Mike and in later years his family was Dee and his dogs whom he loved dearly. The other significant love of Mike’s life was his bikes and he could be found tinkering or building a bike of some sort for his next adventure.
“Mike was happiest when riding his bike to a weekend bike show or just riding his bike and always took pleasure from the simplest of things. Mike also had a wicked sense of humour which infected everyone around him and he loved nothing more than a few beers or ciders and a good belly laugh.
“Mike was never very lucky, even those whom he helped out sometimes took advantage of his good nature but he refused to see the bad in anyone and put it all down to experience. Mike’s childhood as an army brat with the rest of us and all the things he experienced growing up and until yesterday shaped Mike into the happy-go-lucky person he was, and will always be loved, remembered and sadly missed but his parents, surviving siblings and of course Dee his partner and all who were lucky enough to know Mike. I personally feel honoured to have been allowed to have spent time in the company of such a guy as Mike. Ride free my brother.”
Michael’s partner Dee added:
“It took most of our lives to find each other's kindred spirit; one who understood each other without words. So cruel to take him away so soon.”
The driver of the van, a 47-year-old man from Lymington, suffered from shock but was otherwise uninjured.
The road was closed for seven and a half hours while collision investigators examined the scene and recovered the vehicles.
Police are appealing for any witnesses to the collision, or anyone who saw either vehicle prior to the collision.
Anyone with information should call Sergeant Alex Rawdon-Smith at the Totton Roads Policing Unit on 101, quoting Operation Tide.