In a surreal moment, I saw the new traffic lights in Fairlie in action this week ... from a speeding vehicle!

My bus home from work was eight minutes late, and was trying to catch some speed going through Fairlie, and had to hit on the breaks as the lights turned red just before The Causeway - that bus would have carried on speeding through the village otherwise - anything that stops speeders in their tracks has got to be a good thing in my book.

It is not often that the sleepy hollow of Fairlie is at the forefront of national news, but the introduction of new traffic lights to deter speeders is being hailed as a groundbreaking initiative in Scotland.

In fairness to Transport Scotland, they have taken heed of many of the concerns raised by the village under the impressively co-ordinated campaign by resident Caroline Briggs - and that should be applauded.

I was a neighbour of Catherine Bonner who tragically died when a lorry ploughed through the wall of her house at Curneil Villas on that fateful day - 14 February 2013 - it is a day which will always send shudders down my spine.

It is symbolic that the traffic lights have been introduced, with ‘slow down’ signs in immediate view of the crash site, which is currently in the process of being rebuilt.

In speaking to Transport Scotland’s road safety manager, George Henry, he told me that he believes that all possibilities have been catered for with the new safety lights. It was an idea put forward by former community councillor John Riddell, involving three different companies to construct, under the umbrella of Transport Scotland. The lights were introduced in mid-March for testing before they were formally launched on Monday 30 March. If the driver is above the speed limit, they will be given a slow down message, and if they don’t adjust their behaviour, a stud hidden on the road will identify a vehicle’s speed and wirelessly sends a message to the forthcoming traffic lights turn to red.

Even if a car is travelling at extremely excessive speed, there is enough time for the car to slow down to the traffic signals, George told the Fairlie Safe Roads group recently at the Millennium Hall at Fairlie Parish Church. He also revealed that the new speed monitoring system would provide coverage for all vehicles including motorbikes.

Intriguingly, the new traffic signal system will carry out various testing - they will monitor traffic speeds, number plates, and video surveys to assess people who jump red lights. It will also record the types of vehicles, and after a period of a few months, Transport Scotland will report back on the analysis to the community.

It is a five year plan, and could be ground-breaking for villages and towns throughout Scotland, and I know the people of Skelmorlie have been watching with interest with what has been happening in Fairlie, and would like to see similar measures introduced. If it is deemed a success, it could be rolled out all over Scotland, specially in Ayrshire where road accidents have been on the increase.

Fairlie campaigner Charlie Vassie regularly featured in these pages over the years, calling for traffic lights at the Keppenburn end of the village, and while he has not had his wish come true, I think the time has now come to address providing extra measures on built up areas with trunk roads throughout Scotland. I welcome the Douglas Park Nursery group’s initiative to try and obtain traffic lights on Irvine Road - the long and short of it is we really need to make sure our towns and villages are safe and accessible.

West Kilbride is heading for a new one way system through its village to relieve the traffic burden, and the TRAMPs road safety group have been praised by Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson. It is just a matter now of the council deciding on how to progress it, and it is expected to be a step by step approach over the course of the next few years.

In the past, there were often disagreements in the community but TRAMPS have fully liaised within the village, and there is now a consensus in rolling out the changes including improved parking, and what kind of restrictions will be put in place. Kenneth Gibson described it to me as a ‘holistic approach’ to traffic matters in West Kilbride, and that has got to be a good thing.

It is pleasing to see positive action in our towns and villages, and road safety measures are now being addressed - it goes to show that community groups can make a difference in tandem with help from Transport Scotland, North Ayrshire Council, and our own politicians.