Cyclist disputes big bill from city after colliding with OPD SUV

An Oakland man got a surprise in the mail last weekend. It was a bill for damage caused by his bicycle when he collided with the back of an Oakland police vehicle. 

The incident happened at the intersection of 51st Street and Telegraph Avenue.  "We're behind a police cruiser and the light was red and we thought it would be a good idea to follow them and we thought it would be safer," says Alex Reyes of Oakland. 

Reyes says he's made that turn 100's of times.  But on that day in August 2016, he rear ended the police SUV. 

"My shoulder hit the back of the window, hit the back of the cruiser, but no damage I could see," says Reyes.  

"No damage to the bike, no damage to the car. It seemed okay so we went on our way," says Haley de Genova Reyes' partner. 

She was there the day the accident happened. No one was hurt. She says they talked with police. "We were not ticketed. We were not cited. We did nothing wrong," says de Genova. 

"They said nothing would come out of this and that was in August about 9 months ago," says Reyes. 

Fast forward to now when Reyes received a letter stating he owes the city of Oakland $1,004.72 for damage to the police cruiser. 

"This is the same tires, I've made no upgrades on the bicycle in the last year. So the way you see it now is the way it was nine months ago," says Reyes. 

He says when he got the bill he all received photos of the damaged vehicle,  and they didn't come directly from OPD but a firm called, George Hills which is the claims administrator for the city. The company says its investigation showed Reyes was at fault. 

"Why were we never contacted? I don't know of any investigation were the two eyewitness and the parties involved in the incident are not contacted or asked to give statements or even told about what's going on," says de Genova.  

According to a police spokesman there was an investigation and pictures taken at the scene, from there the department hands it off to city officials.

"I've had no contact from Oakland PD and I feel like this is you know it seems fake, it seems fake.  It seems like a shakedown. It seems like they're trying to get some money out of me," says Reyes. 

We reached out to the city administrators office and was told the repairs cost $738 in addition, the patrol car was out of service for four days bringing the total to $1,004. 

City officials did say Reyes can contest the judgment with the claims company.