PEOPLE living in a village near Tenbury are stepping up their campaign against speeding cars after a man was almost decapitated.

Paul Bayliss, a solicitor living in St Michael's, told Tenbury Town Council how he would have been killed had he been looking in a different direction.

“I was in the footpath when I saw a white van with a large wing mirror speeding towards me,” said Paul Bayliss.

“If I had not seen it and been able to duck then I would have been hit in the head.”

But he said that this was not the only narrow escape.

“Many of us have had frightening experiences,” he added.

“On one occasion, my briefcase carrying my music back from the church was hit by a passing vehicle.”

He told the town council that there was a double whammy of high speeds and narrow footpaths. In an attempt to make the pavement wider he had spent two days cutting back a hedge at his home in the village.

“The experience of cutting the hedge – buffeted by the wind of cars going far too fast felt unsafe,” added Paul Bayliss.

“As a result of spending two days on the pavement, I am in no doubt that a high proportion of vehicles travel at speeds well in excess of the speed limit.”

He said that, on many occasions, cars and vans go through the village at speeds of between 50mph and 60mph.

“If cars approached from both sides at 50mph, you have a closing speed of 100mph and less than a second to react,” added Paul Bayliss.

The town council heard that there have been a number of accidents although, fortunately, no-one has been killed.

There were stories of lorries mounting the kerbs, big vehicles straddling the middle of the road and even of villagers trying to turn right into driveways being passed as they wait to turn.

Eric Hudson, who represents St Michael's on Tenbury Town Council, is leading the fight for measures to cut speeds.

“The pavement between Berrington Lane and Oldwood Common is little more than a foot wide and is manifestly dangerous for pedestrians when traffic goes past in close proximity,” said Eric Hudson.

“There have been many incidents in the past of vehicles ending up in gardens and recently there have been two incidents of vehicles mounting the pavement.

He said that there was a particular problem where Berrington Lane and the entrance to St Michael's College and the church meet Oldwood Road.

“The number of accidents at this junction, including near fatal accidents, makes clear the need for steps to be taken,” he said.

Villagers are calling for a series of measures to be taken including the installation of vehicle activated speeding signs on the approach to St Michael's from both the Tenbury and Leysters directions.

They want white gates at the side of the road as cars enter the village and double white lines to be painted on the road.

Ken Pollock, who represents Tenbury on Worcestershire County Council, has pledged £500 from his discretionary fund to help pay for some of the work but says Tenbury Town Council will also need to spend money.

He has also called for police speed-checks in the village as a deterrent.