WISSINOMING (WPVI) -- Helmet-cam video shows the moments leading up to a crash involving a dirt bike and a police cruiser in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia.
Police officials say the video reveals the difficult balance they have to strike during these types of situations.
"It's a double edged sword. You have to make sure that you address the issue, you can't allow them to run recklessly throughout the city, but you also have to be mindful about doing it in a safe way," Philadelphia Police Lt. John Stanford said.
Witnesses say the scene came to a head as responding officers tried to stop the dirt bikers from riding on the wrong side of the road and even on the sidewalk.
"There were a bunch of people on bikes, but they were mainly chasing that one person. Everybody else got on pavement. The cops cut the whole avenue off," witness Jahlil Bandy said.
It's still unclear how it happened, but that's when the one dirt bike collided with the squad car at Torresdale Avenue and Howell Street.
"The bike was lying not the ground when I pulled up. It was on its side. I saw the cops and the body was across. He must've flew approximately 20 feet," Heather Petrocelli of Wissinoming said.
The 18-year-old dirt bike rider is now being treated at Aria Health Torresdale where he is listed in critical condition with two broken legs and a fractured skull.
Authorities say this is an ongoing problem in Philadelphia with more than 100 dirt bikes and ATVs confiscated this year alone.
That's why the police department has set up several initiatives that rely heavily on the public reporting any illegal or dangerous activity involving these kinds of vehicles.
"Some of these riders have no regard for anybody, so whether it's a dirt bike, ATV, motorcycle, or even a bicycle, it's just one of those things where we have a policy in place of not chasing them, and that's why we set up those initiatives throughout the course of the year," Stanford said.
Riding dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets is illegal in Philadelphia.
Anyone with information should contact police.
Helmet-cam video shows moments before police car, dirt bike collision