In rural areas where the linking network of pathways between villages are rarely used by pedestrians, single or small (family) groups of cyclists should be allowed to use them as cycle paths, establishing a courtesy of dismounting if meeting a pedestrian.
Why does this idea matter?
Many roads in rural areas are hazardous to cyclists. They may be narrow, potholed , and with poor visibility. Motorists often drive close to the verges and at excessive speed.
Such dangers and fears deter parents from allowing children to gain experience of cycling. These comparatively safe footpaths are hardly used by walkers and provide a sensible link where roads do not have designated cycle paths.