Less than a week after what may have been a shooting between rival motorcycle gangs on area freeways, thousands of bikers are descending on Palm Springs this morning as part of the American Heat rally. The shooting resulted in the death of Manuel Martin, of Venice.
No problems were reported this afternoon during the first hours of a motorcycle rally in downtown Palm Springs that is expected to draw 10,000 cyclists, a police lieutenant said.
“It looks like a good start and we have had no problems reported so far,” said Palm Springs police Lt. John Booth.
Hundreds of booths have been set up on Palm Canyon Drive — the city’s main drag — for the 2008 American Heat Motorcycle Weekend, which began at 2 p.m.
Palm Canyon Drive, from Alejo to Baristo roads, will remain shut down until 9 p.m. Sunday, said city spokeswoman Amy Blaisdell.
The event will feature stunt shows, live entertainment and motorcycle vendors.
Police Chief David Dominguez told the Desert Sun he does not expect any violence during the event, despite past conflicts in California among rival motorcycle gangs.