Busy roads and unpredictable children on bikes and footpaths are promoting a police warning for drivers to be extra vigilant and patient around schools, as students head back to the classrooms.

Hawke's Bay Road Policing Senior Sergeant Greg Brown said the start of the new school year was traditionally busy on the roads.

"We're urging all drivers to be more aware of their surroundings and keep an eye out for kids on their bikes and on footpaths," he said.

"Reduce your speed around schools and be prepared for congestion at the start and end of the school day."


He said new students were especially vulnerable, as they may not know road layouts or local traffic patterns, and added children could be unpredictable, placing the responsibility on everyone to make sure they got to and from school safely.

"Some of these kids will be coming to a school for the first time and they are still building their confidence and don't have the ability to anticipate dangerous situations. They are vulnerable road users so drivers need to be aware of them."

Police will be highly visible around schools in Hawke's Bay this week keeping an eye on driver behaviour, including parking on yellow lines.

Drivers were also urged to remember the reduced speed limits outside some schools.

"The reduced speeds are there for a reason - to improve road safety and prevent our children from dying and being hurt on our roads. We will be enforcing those speed limits and anyone caught exceeding them will be prosecuted," Mr Brown said.

Police will be using a variety of methods that include high visibility and plain clothes staff to focus on speed, seatbelts and cyclist safety. Spot checkpoints will also be conducted around the region.