Dozens of bikes and cars driving on Waimārama Beach is a bad omen for the summer season and it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt, a longtime local resident says.
And two Hastings District councillors say Waimārama's issues will, and should, start a wider conversation about the future of vehicles on beaches in Hawke's Bay.
Nges Anaru and her family, walking their dog on Saturday, were shocked by the number of bikes and cars "going up and down" the beach.
"We do get busy but it usually starts on Labour weekend. This was like a normal summer day."
Even more shocking was their behaviour, she said, adding the riders showed a "lack of respect or consideration" for other beachgoers, especially children on the beach.
"We were really angry when we saw it ... once it starts on the beach, it starts on the roads."
Based on the weekend's antics, Anaru said this summer season looked like it was going to be "terrible".
Anaru worried without action being taken to address the driving behaviour, "someone could get hurt", but was on the fence about a complete driving ban.
"I know a lot of locals want to put gates up so they can't do things like that but they will just find a way in."
The existing beach driving ban in front of the surf club takes effect from Labour weekend and runs until April 1.
Drivers must also adhere to road rules including a 20km/h speed limit on all Hastings beaches, quad drivers and motorbike riders are required to wear helmets, and no pillion passengers are allowed on quads.
A Hastings District Council spokeswoman said a request had been made in the council's 2021-31 Long-Term Plan to install a vehicle ban at Waimārama Beach which the council had resolved to investigate.
"The process of changing the bylaw is complex and will require widespread consultation with the community, which would all take time," the spokeswoman said,
Waimārama-based councillor Bayden Barber said he was concerned about the weekend's behaviour and said it had become "more of an issue".
"The number of cars, trailers with dirtbikes and 4x4 on the back - every last one under the sun was on the beach."
During level 3 lockdown, Barber said his 7-year-old daughter was almost hit by an SUV that came up behind his family while they were out for a walk.
He said locals had "had enough", especially those on the north end of the beach.
"We're going to have to do something about it.
"We need to move fast on it because we've got people's safety at risk.
"The worst thing would be for someone to have an accident on the beach."
It wasn't just about the safety risk, but also the environmental impacts, Barber said.
"There's going to be a conversation here in this community, and probably wider Hawke's Bay, about the vehicle ban and extending that."
Fellow Waimārama-based councillor Sophie Siers agreed, saying vehicles on the beach had been an issue for years.
"We have heard from our community both formally and informally that they want to look at solutions to resolve the issue."
She said the planned bylaw consultation was a great opportunity for the community to share how they want to interact with the environment through leisure activities and that it was something that needed to be discussed as a region.
"I'm excited about working on this issue and finding a positive way forward."
A police spokesperson said local staff were not aware of any issues over the weekend but had a "robust summer period policing plan" focusing on popular holiday times starting Labour weekend.