HIGHWAY chiefs have launched an attempt to cut the accident toll at a Hampshire junction dubbed one of the most dangerous for cyclists.

Ipley Crossroads in the New Forest has seen two fatalities in the past eight years and other people are said to have suffered life-changing injuries.

Now the county council is drawing up proposals to turn it into a staggered crossroads in a bid to prevent motorists from driving straight across.

Civic chiefs are urging the New Forest Verderers to approve a land swap deal which would enable the scheme to go ahead.

New Forest Post:

Campaigners say the excellent visibility at the junction, which is surrounded by open countryside, results in drivers failing to look carefully when they reach the crossroads.

Some motorists are said to be ignoring newly-installed "Stop" signs on two of the approach roads.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Mark Brummell, 53, of Southampton, was killed in an accident with a Renault Megane in 2012. Four years later fellow cyclist Kieran Dix, 36, of Eastleigh, was fatally injured in a collision with a Vauxhall Zafira.

Three years ago the junction was named as one of the worst in the country for accidents involving cyclists.

In January Dave Bensley was cycling through the Forest with fellow members of Southampton Cycling and Touring Club (STC) when he suffered serious neck and leg injuries in a crash at Ipley Crossroads.

Referring to the deaths of Mr Brummell and Mr Dix, STC members said it was a "miracle" that Mr Bensley's accident did not result in a third fatality.

In a statement to the Verderers' Court the county council said: "The junction has been the site of multiple collisions particularly between cars and cyclists, resulting in fatalities and life-changing injuries.

"It can be hard to spot cyclists due to the open layout of the junction, which allows decisions about traversing to be made early."

New Forest Post:

Under the scheme the crossroads would be realigned, resulting in the construction of a new 102-metre section of the C97.

More than 663 square metres of Forestry England land would be needed for the new road. But the proposed land swap deal would result in an existing piece of carriageway, possibly at Wilverley Cross near Sway, being returned to open forest.

The county council says the scheme will result in the maximum increase in road safety while causing the least detriment to the Forest.