West Sussex County Council’s team of highway inspectors will shortly be getting a new angle on the condition of roads across the county.

At present, they inspect more than 2,500 miles of roads either by car or on foot.

Now, six folding bikes will help them find out what conditions are like from the point of view of cyclists.

The bikes are eventually expected to pay for themselves by saving on the cost of fuel for driven inspections.

The County Council’s nine highway inspectors cover every square mile of West Sussex working from depots at Chichester, Clapham, near Worthing and Broadbridge Heath, on the outskirts of Horsham.

All A roads are inspected monthly with other parts of the network inspected at least once a year.

Information from the inspections is collected on hand-held data capture devices and then downloaded into the highway management system for analysis and action.

Pedal power will be used to check off-road as well as on-road cycle routes in all seven District and Borough Council areas of West Sussex.

Derek Whittington, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport and the Council’s Members’ Cycling Champion, has praised the initiative.

He said: “We are planning to extend the cycle network in West Sussex year on year to encourage more people to cycle to work as well as for leisure and, of course, we are actively working with schools to promote cycling.

“Using bikes as part of the highway inspection work will play a leading role in making sure we react quickly to defects that could spoil the cycling experience."