A 13-year-old boy about to start at Hastings Boys' High School has died in a cycle crash hours after picking up his new school uniform.

The boy's bike and a car collided opposite the BP service station on Railway Rd in Hastings about 5pm on Monday.

Hastings Boys' High School principal Rob Sturch said the Year 9 boy was supposed to join his brother, who is in Year 10, at the school on Tuesday.

"He's been in to school, he's purchased his uniform, he's done everything he's had to do to prepare for the year and then this has happened.

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"By all accounts he was a bright, friendly boy. It's a real shame we never got to know him a bit better."

The boy had graduated from Hastings Intermediate last year and had lots of friends also starting at Hastings Boys' High School.

"Some boys have not come in today and that's fair enough," Sturch said.

"We will have a guidance counsellor on desk for anyone who feels they need it.

"It's just a tragic day for the school. We have a really great year coming up, a great group of Year 9s and to lose one before we've started is a loss we all feel."

Sturch said he did not know if the boy was travelling from school to home at the time of the crash. Hastings Intermediate had also been made aware of the crash.

The boy was transferred to Hawke's Bay Hospital in a critical condition. He remained there overnight in intensive care and died today. A police spokesperson said the matter would be referred to the Coroner.

A staff member at Portmans Motor Lodge, across the road, said he had not seen anything, and was not aware of the collision until the police had arrived.

Staff at the BP service station were unable to comment on what had occurred.

At least two others have died while cycling on Hawke's Bay roads in the last two years - Helmut Gromer in April, 2017, and Ted Tamai in January, 2018.