Rules of the Road

Isn't it safer to ride on the sidewalk?  and facing traffic, so I can see the cars coming?
Absolutely not!
Cyclists are safest when they act just like all the other vehicle operators on the road, riding in the lane, in the same direction as other traffic, and following all the rules of the road.
According to a 1996 study, Dr. William Moritz found that cycling on the sidewalk was about 24 times more dangerous than cycling in the road.
This is why the MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) "What Every Michigan Bicyclist Must Know" booklet states that "Cycling on sidewalks is VERY dangerous."
Here's a picture from that publication: