Sometimes when I walk, I think about writing. Lots of times I think about cyclists passing me at high speed without a warning, despite trail rules. I don't fricking care that there's plenty of room. You don't know if I will suddenly swing my arms for a stretch or move sideways in the lane. And if you have one of those new-fangled super-quiet bikes, you'll be on me before I can hear you.
The norm is 1/3 or less that call "passing" or "on your left" or even ring a bell. I know. I've counted them. I'm only on the trail for 40 minutes, one mile in, one mile out. This statistic has held in different parts of the county (I haven't walked in the other county very much).
This was a three-day weekend, granted. This is summer, granted. And I don't usually walk on the weekends because of the number of people out. I prefer to walk when I can enjoy my thoughts.
Friday: 17 cyclists, 5 calls. Normal ratio, definitely higher traffic, about 1pm.
Saturday: 20 cyclists, 14 calls. Definitely above average. Traffic high. I was off the trail by about 9am. Oddly enough, the six who didn't call did it in the same section of the trail, right before crossing the road. In both directions. Weird.
Tuesday, a work day: 3 cyclists, 0 calls. Low ratio of traffic, off the trail by 10:30AM.
Saturday and today's walks were the same stretch of trail. And the gender-driven statistics say that women will call less than half as often as men. Very few women call that they're passing me.
I have really good hearing and I was a city-dweller at one time, so I'm used to listening behind me. But some bikes are pretty quiet. And I don't have a rear view mirror, like I do when driving. And when they're coming downhill? They're easily going about 30mph. And I'm going 3mph. So far, no accidents, no near misses, as far as I know. But I can be rattled a bit. And really? Just saying "passing" or "on your left" is hard to do?
As for me, I believe in the training methods of that animal trainer who wrote a book about it. Praise the good behavior, ignore the bad. I always call "thanks" when a cyclist verbalizes the pass. Positive reinforcement. It can't hurt.