"@ Kit: Bless! "Knightrider" was an 80's TV series starring non other than Mr Baywatch (David Hasslehoff) as Michael Knight, a crimefighter who beat baddies with the help of his talking car, a sardonic black "Trans Am" called Kit.
@ Pete: Thanks for that, I'd written off my railing concerns as paranoia but I'll take more care now.
The pavement cycling incidents i've seen are never black and white.
The worst I've seen was where a cycle lane exited a park, crossing a pavement onto the road. A guy rode out of the park, watching for vehicle traffic. (This cycle lane also had a green "cycle" light telling phased to go when the vehicle lights were red). Unfortunately there was a tiny kid (about 4yo) on a little bike, riding along the pavement and they collided quite badly. This example shows how the best laid plans (ie a clearly marked cycle lane with it's own traffic light) is no substitute for simple caution.
The lamest i've seen was while I waited outside an off licence for my girlfriend. I was sitting on my bike, stationary. A pedestrian was crossing the road towards me, using his mobile and not looking where he was going. As he stepped onto the kerb he looked the other way to check out some girls, and he walked straight into me! I copped some colourful abuse as usual for "riding" on the pavement.
I've been on both sides of this problem - as a student in NZ I drove a public school busses. The most dangerous situations occur when people make assumptions i.e. they think if they can't hear a car, it is safe to step into the road without looking, or that if a queue of traffic is stationary, they can ride or walk through it with no danger of being hit.
Commuting 18 miles a day by bike I avoid accidents by assuming that I am invisible to everyone, drivers and pedestrians - unless I have eye contact. I use the pavement whenever the road is blocked by anything other than other cyclists. When I encounter pedestrians I slow down to walking pace and say "excuse me" instead of ringing the bell. However riding along the road through areas such a Clapham Junction and Putney, near misses are much more common where it is pedestrians stepping on to the road."