I have feet in all camps .. though not enough feet! As a horsey, bike owning dog walker I’m firmly in the walkers only camp. The cyclists that I regularly see riding the path (even at night in groups) are almost exclusively riding mountain bikes. The canal path is far from being mountainous and is far more akin to pavement. I thought that the purpose of this type of bike was to test your ability on testing terrain , which the footpath is certainly not. Re: the safety element of bikes and pedestrians and the warning of approaching bikes , I can’t remember the last time I heard a rider ring a bell to alert others of their arrival. Perhaps it’s not “cool” to have a bell.
As regards putting the equestrians into the mix that would be totally ridiculous. Horses and dogs have minds of their own and despite the best efforts of riders /owners they do at times do their own thing. In addition horses would destroy the walkability of the pathway . The only answer would be to provide a seperate way for both styles of rider- the practicalities and cost of providing this would be beyond limited budgets which may be available.
At present the canal walk is just a foot path, and a very nice one where dogs can run free in safety I would hate to see this change. There are signs that ban cyclists at present , but they are ignored and who is going to “police” this path anyway?