I live in the sticks in SW Somerset and the footpaths are so lightly used around my village it's not an issue. In fact I can't recall ever seeing someone coming the other way and I've lived here for 20 years!
The footpath in the field behind my house has never been used. It's kept visible by badgers and cats who patrol along it every night.
I wouldn't ride across a marked footpath if it went straight across a field with crops unless there already was a cleared path.
Bridleways are different. The local horse population rapidly turn them into the Somme during the winter making them impassable on foot or bike.
There's nothing new in that, the old man next door remembers milk being delivered daily by horse and cart using the bridleway network right up to the early 1970s.