Yep I agree it would be great if we didn't have to meet anyone else on our chosen path, but thats not going to happen - not in the UK anyway.
I am very careful when I meet other people out, walkers or cyclists. The sort of idiot I object to is the man I met on a bridle path in the woods recently, walking with an umbrella who stopped next to my horse and opened and closed it fast to shake off the water and then had a go at me because my horse was spooked and almost stepped on his dog! People like him should, in my opinion, be kept safety locked indoors.
Oh, and horse riders in the UK can face hefty fines for riding on public footpaths not only the ones across fields and open land but including the one at the side of the road.