Home News Miramar Marines confiscate bikes and give tickets to trespassers

Miramar Marines confiscate bikes and give tickets to trespassers

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2.6.16: Hundreds of mountain bikers packed a meeting at a local church in El Cajon to discuss the popular bike trails that were closed down on Miramar base.

The Marine Corps sent representatives to address the public at the standing-room-only meeting. The military representatives stated that they’d been issuing tickets to bikers, cyclists and hikers since 2012.

The base commander stepped up enforcement due to mountain bikers traversing a ridge above the Miramar firing range last year. The Marines were forced to shut down training until the civilians could be cleared from the area. After trespassers stopped training several times in the last few months, costing taxpayers about $10,000 each time, the Marines stepped up the enforcement.

San Diego Mountain Biking Association informed the crowd of their efforts to work with county officials and private landowners to create a legal trail, but the process is time-consuming.

Meanwhile, the bikers must show up in federal court to get their mountain bikes back; most of the bikers still have not received their court dates.

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1.19.16: Bicycle enthusiasts to ride near Santee Lakes got a surprise this weekend when armed Marines stopped them from riding on the base.

Many cyclists have said they didn’t realize it was federal property. “You look at this and it’s really cool to be out here,” said cyclist Mark Moore as reported by 10 News San Diego.

Moore acknowledged that he knew some of the land was private, but added, “This area, if you were to ask 100 mountain bikers, I don’t think one would say, ‘oh yeah, you can’t ride there,'” he said.

Saturday, Moore and seven others he was riding with were stopped by the MP’s. Some GoPro video captured the interaction. One of the cyclists sad, “There is not one stinkin’ sign even remotely close. That’s why we ride it.”

Everyone in the party received tickets except for two 14-year-old riders. Their bikes were taken by the MPs.

Moore reveled, “It says basically we were trespassing and this is the evidence property custody receipt” in the newscast. Wishing that the military police had given his group a warning instead, Moore noted, “For us, it seemed absurd with all the problems in the world — they are coming after mountain bikers,” he said.

The Marine Corps released this statement:

The commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and the military police take great interest and caution in the issue of hikers and mountain bikers coming onto East Miramar in unauthorized areas. We have weapons training ranges located on East Miramar, which are the site of training more than 9,000 Marines on annual rifle and pistol qualification. There is a very real safety hazard for anyone that may come onto the federal property and the trails in question place those who trespass onto the base in potentially life-threatening danger.

MCAS Miramar has diligently worked in alerting the community of off-limits areas and have posted signs and warnings across the government property to further increase awareness. Similarly, Military Police Officers patrol the area regularly. Anyone who comes onto East Miramar, knowingly or not, may be federally cited, face possible fines and have their bikes impounded until the citations are adjudicated.

Over the past weekend, our military police officers had an increased presence in the area and cited approximately 50 individuals and impounded more than 45 bicycles and 3 motorcycles. The impounded vehicles will be returned to the owners once the citations have been adjudicated.

It is imperative that anyone who bikes on the eastern border of the base understand that this is part of an active military training area. We have and will continue to work with community organizations, such as the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, to help educate and deter people from coming onto the base illegally.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. we need that Miramar land for a new civilian airport and bike trails. the airwing must move out to the desert. either fallon or Yuma.

    • It is done first and foremost for security. Stay off the land. It does not belong to you or the State of California. It is FEDERAL government land. If you want another airport of land for riding your bikes take it from your state land. This land was paid for by ALL American’s, not just the Liberals in California. If you don’t like the base being near you then you shouldn’t have moved near a Marine or Navy base. As many former Marines on here seem to say they don’t seem to know how these cyclist posed a security risk, then I call BS. As a former Marine myself ANYONE being on base without authorization, especially riding around where live ordnance my be at is a security risk.

      • The fact is that we will need air bases like this less and less until we need them no more in more vulnerable coastal areas. With drones that can be remotely flown around the world, the remaining air bases should be in more secure areas inland. That is how a true conservative thinks, instead of being an old think from the gut Trumpish type conservative acting like time stopped decades ago when location was key to national security. Let’s move the base and finally let San Diego have a multi runway airport and more greenspace. That is more important to the local economy than a having a base that has slammed its planes into houses in surrounding neighborhoods before. And civilian agencies buying closed bases in California has been happening all our lives i.e. Fort Oord, Merced AFB, etc. You might actually do some research before speaking from your gut next time.

  2. You fucking grunts we pay taxes so you exist on land we pay for. Watching the news about people being given $500 fines, having their bikes taken and then told to walk two miles infuriates me. It was a lot better when the Navy was on base.

  3. As a former Marine, and avid mountain biker, I cannot imagine any circumstances where the cyclist were posing a National Security violation(s) to warrant such capricious response from the Base Commander. Why not just post a couple of Military Police Marines on base property at the trail, turn riders back, while building a simple barb wire fence to close the trail off. Was the Marine Corps Base Commander within his right to do what he/she did? Yes, but just cause you can, doesn’t mean you should. Look, there is no doubt, the Marines have a tough mission to protect our Nation and it’s citizens, and we all must respect that.

    The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis”; (Always Faithful) to God, Country, Family. By definition “Country” includes our Nation’s beautiful land and its citizens ability to enjoy it.

    This is simply a “bad call” made, that must be promptly reversed, fines thrown away, and property returned

  4. The law is clear: the bicyclists cannot be legally arrested for trespassing unless the base boundary is signed (with at least three signs per mile) or fenced, and the trail they used to enter the base is signed, gated, or fenced. Furthermore, confiscating personal property when no crime has been committed is prohibited by the Constitution, though I recognize that this is recognized more in the breach than in reality today.

    The reality is that the majority of the base boundary is neither signed nor fenced, and the trails upon which bicyclists are entering the base are neither blocked by gates nor signed for no trespassing where they enter the base. Under both California law and abundant Federal case law, there are no grounds for citation. Not that this is going to stop an overbearing Marine base commander from illegally issuing citations knowing that the cost of fighting a citation in Federal court is higher than the cost of the citation, but he might get surprised if he does this to a lawyer and a class action lawsuit is filed in Federal court. He might find that his next deployment will be in Nome, Alaska…

  5. Thank you, the whole situation could have been handled a lot better, now the base commander has a PR disaster in his hands. But if I know the Marine Corps like I know it; discipline rolls “down hill.”

    Look, if only tickets, or warnings would have been given, the community would not be up in arms. I would have accepted a ticket, have the magistrate more likely than not, reduce it, or even dismiss it. I know some people will disagree, but, come on folks, this one is a petty issue. I don’t think this is a nuclear base facility.

    The seizing of property, well it’s just way over the top, in essence the Base Commander authorized punishment to civilians, without due process. When citizens tell our Military, “there is no signs” or “I didn’t know, I was trespassing”, well maybe, just maybe, they are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, hence the magistrate will more likely than not dismiss the most cases, opening the door for those seeking damages.

    This was simply poor execution and decision making by the Base Commander.

  6. As a former Marine, and avid mountain biker, I cannot imagine any circumstances where the cyclist posed a National Security risk(s) to warrant such capricious response from the Base Commander. Yes, the response against the cyclists is capricious. Why not just post a couple of Military Police (MPs) Marines on the perimeter entrance of the trails, turn riders back, while building a simple barb wire fence or barricades to close off the trails. Those who knowingly defeat or go around the barricades are then free game for citations. The MPs instead waited well inside the base perimeter cited and confiscated property. Basically let them in, and pick them off to prove a capricious point.

    Was the Marine Corps Base Commander within his right to do what he did? Issue citations? Of course, he has the duty to protect his base, However, what has changed in the base since the late 1990’s? Are there new nuclear silos in the base now? Of course not, nothing has changed since then, security has been lax for decades, even after 911, because they is no security issue with this large piece of desert land that is mostly unfenced and the existence of proper warning signs is still in question. How many instances have occurred where cyclist have rode into the range impact zones? Isn’t there supposed to be fences to prevent that? How many bullets have traveled past the range impact back stops and hit the nearby Scripps Ranch and Santee communities? If there has been one incident, would such ranges still be open?

    The taking of property (expensive bikes) from civilians not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is at best questionable if not illegal. This is the reason, people are up in arms. Look, the taking of property, which amounts to punishment, is up to the courts to decide, people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Nobody should take your property as punishment, not even under the disguise of being held as evidence, for what amounts to a petty infraction of trespassing. This is a Public Relations disaster and the Base Commander is now busy doing damage control.
    By the way, the so called trespassers are friendlies, not the enemy. If you can’t tell a friendly from a rioter, looter, or pirate, please seek professional help.

    This is simply a “bad call” made, that must be promptly reversed, fines thrown away, and property returned.

    “Semper Fi”; (Always Faithful) to God, Country, Family.

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