Although Bill Maher is a favorite of mine, I do not intend for this to be about him. I just couldn't think of a proper title.
On our hike-bike trail (on which the maintenance people and rangers are very much in evidence using golf carts or "gators"), the posted rule is "keep to the right". It has been probably about a year since I (a bicyclist) came up behind a walker who was walking to the left. My first thought was, "How am I going to get past this fool. There's no way I can pass him on the left without getting off the trail!" I decided to just keep going straight ahead, since the trail before us was clear. It was perhaps the smoothest passing I've ever made on the trail.
In another world, when I was a kid and things were very different from now, there were signs spaced regularly along Texas highways that said, "Walk to the left side of the road, facing traffic". That's a very sensible idea for pedestrians, I think. I have noticed that "hikers" on the hike-bike trail, especially if they are walking in pairs or in a group, seem to be quite surprised when they hear a bicyclist announcing his intentions as he comes up behind them. I've seen hikers jump off the trail, or grab their partners and pull them roughly over to the side, but there always seems to be a reaction which will make them deviate in some way.
It would seem to me that this could be avoided by following one of the simplist of traffic rules.
Bicycles are vehicles, and have always been considered as such. They should always follow the same traffic rules as any other vehicles. Pedestrians are not vehicles.
If the rules of the trail were the same as rules of the road, with vehicles to the right side of the road, and pedestrians to the left, the pedestrians would never be surprised by a bicycle approaching them from behind, and the bicyclist would not have to wonder, "How is this pedestrian going to react to my passing him?". I always get a warm, friendly feeling now, when I see a hiker practicing civil disobedience, facing me on the same side of the trail. Maybe they should re-evaluate that trail rule of "keep to the right", and follow the more traditional traffic rules.