Marblehead police this spring became the first in the state to add electric bikes to their array of vehicles.

The four bikes, which were donated by a Salem company that manufactures the vehicles, function like conventional bicycles used by police, but are equipped with small motors that enable patrolmen to climb hills much more quickly.

“These bikes are a step above a pedal bike, in that you can go from here to there much faster,” said Police Chief Robert Picariello. “You didn’t just pedal three miles fast to get to a call. You don’t expend your own energy.”

The act of pedaling contributes to recharging the vehicle’s battery, so energy costs are minimal, Picariello said.

The electric bikes can travel at speeds of 20 to 25 mph and can essentially cancel out the difference between a motorist and a cyclist huffing and puffing up a hill, according to Picariello. He added that the bikes are particularly helpful in a town like Marblehead, which has many parks and conservation lands.

“The bikes are a good deterrent,” Marblehead Police Capt. Matthew Freeman told the Salem News. “It’s helpful to be able to ride up onto a scene quietly.”

The e-bikes were donated by the president of Evantage USA, Adam Rand, a Marblehead resident.

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