A ‘NASTY accident’ involving a child or pensioner is just waiting to happen on the roads of Weymouth, say worried residents who are launching a new petition.

Concern is mounting over the ‘alarming’ speed of vehicles using Portland Road in Wyke Regis and nearby residential streets.

A petition is now being launched calling for a pedestrian crossing on the section of Portland Road between Foords Corner and All Saints Church.

Residents also want traffic calming measures on the busy Camp Road and advisory 20 miles per hour signs throughout the area.

It comes after residents on the nearby Downclose Estate say they fear their children could be the victims of vehicles that are using the estate as a rat-run.

Traffic jams due to resurfacing works on Portland Road have only served to heighten the problem.

Kate Wheller, the chairman of Wyke Pact (Partners and Communities Together) is working with South Dorset MP Jim Knight to put pressure on Dorset County Council to look into ways of reducing traffic speed.

Mrs Wheller, of Wyke High Street, said: “This is now the county’s designated route from Weymouth and Dorchester through to Portland so the traffic is building up enormously and we are a cat’s whisker away from a nasty accident.

“There is no pavement and cars are racing past to avoid the traffic in Portland Road. You only need a child in a split-second to wander a little bit, and that’s it.

“It’s a matter of changing people’s mind-sets so they understand where there are elderly people and children, they cannot get out of the road that quickly.”

Mr Knight said: “The county (council) has been successful in securing funding for transport schemes attached to the Olympics.

“As I understand it, that includes improving the flow of traffic through to Portland through more intelligent traffic management.

“At the same time as making it easier for people to use Portland Road, you need to protect the residents who use the road, from people who are rat-running through estates, speeding and making things dangerous for them.”

The Pact group is calling for a crossing to be installed at the top of Chamberlaine Road.

“An awful lot of children cross that road to get to school,” said Mrs Wheller. “A crossing with lights would slow the traffic down wonderfully.”

The speed and volume of traffic using Camp Road has also increased due to business growth.

Mr Knight said: “The county needs to come forward with something effective to control traffic there and still allow people to go about their business.”

The Pact panel is working with the police to introduce the ‘20 is Plenty’ scheme in Wyke, especially around the infant and junior schools.

“It’s only advisory,” said Mrs Wheller.

“It cannot be enforced, but it has been surprising how having those signs up makes people think there may be children playing here.

“A second here and there is not worth a child’s life – it’s not even worth a cat’s life.”