Last month, police began a monthly "focused enforcement" day, where four officers on bikes, and a supervisor, hit the streets to cite cyclists for breaking laws. More than 40 bicyclists have received $60 tickets for such offenses as riding on the sidewalk.
The law in this case is an ass. In much of Denver, in places without wide bike lanes, it is unfathomably more dangerous for a bicyclist to ride on the street than it is for a bicyclist to ride on a sidewalk. Both parked cars opening their doors and cars driving by are a constant hazard. In collisions between cars and bicycles, the bicyclist almost always losses.
Many of the people I've known who bike to work regularly, Sam Van Why who works at the College for Financial Planning in the Denver Tech Center, for example, have been hit and seriously injured in the process of biking on the streets. Almost no regular urban bicyclist has never had some sort of mishap trying to bike on city streets.
Even when a bicyclist isn't hit, trying to have bicycles and cars share the road is a traffic hazard. A bicycle almost always goes much slower than the speed limit and holds up traffic if it is not passed. But, normal traffic lanes aren't wide enough to allow a car to pass a bicycle a safe distance away from the bike when there is oncoming traffic, something that is perpetual on busy city streets.
Often the driver of the car either makes a dangerous passing maneuver out of impatience, often risking a head on two car collision, or drives closer to the bicyclist than the driver should, often causing the bicyclist to have collide with something else while avoiding the near miss with the car.
In places that have designated bike paths (like most of Colorado's resort towns), they are precisely like sidewalks. Ideal bicycle lanes look like sidewalks, not roads. Bicyclists and pedestrians likewise manage to co-exist just fine on the very sidewalk like Cherry Creek bike path and Platte River bike path through Denver.
Injuries from bicycle-pedestrian collisions on sidewalks are almost always less serious and in much of the city, sidewalks are empty most of the time.
The better rule is to allow bicyclists to choose. They can follow the rules that apply to pedestrians and keep to sidewalks and crosswalks, or they can follow the rules that apply to cars and drive on the street, and allow them to switch regimes at any time when it can be done without causing a collision or confusion.
If Denver is really committed to multi-modal transportation it needs to focus on building safe places to bike, not on ticketing bicyclists who use sidewalks.