Police have identified the dirt biker killed after he veered into the path of a car in Northeast Philly yesterday afternoon as James Ortiz, 19, of Cottman Avenue near Walker Street in Mayfair.

Ortiz was driving his dirt bike on the sidewalk northbound on Hawthorne Street near St. Vincent, with a 19-year-old female passenger behind him, when he steered into the street - and into the path of an oncoming 1996 Chevy Tahoe about 1:30 p.m., police said.

Ortiz died later at Aria Hospital-Torresdale, where his passenger remains in critical condition. The Tahoe's 32-year-old was uninjured, police said.

Driving dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets, sidewalks, parks and other public property is illegal in Philadelphia, but hundreds of "bike life" fans do just that as soon as the weather warms each year. Police crack down on the illegal riders occasionally, confiscating their vehicles, but police policy prohibits officers from chasing them.