I don't know why so many cane-defense resources are about striking someone else. You can protect yourself a lot more in daily life by using it as a visual tool. It's like a giant, moving turn signal, expressive, gracious.
People don't usually walk into objects. They'll veer into other pedestrians on a whim, but generally won't walk into a lightpole. The cane is a moving object, and so they work extra hard to avoid it. A slow Chaplin-style cane twirl ten to twenty feet away catches their attention, and triggers natural reptilian instincts of avoidance.
It's really true that some people on the sidewalk will not look around, or even look at/through you, then change their path to intersect yours, and not give any clue to how they think they will resolve the ambiguity. Some don't even notice it, then are mystified when they see the intersectee suddenly appear three feet away, hands upraised in "what are you doing? how do you expect me to respond?" Functional IQ of about 50 at that moment.
Some choose an obstructing course deliberately though. No idea why. I'd be streetside and half-a-block away and he'd be centerwalking, then at quarter-block looks at me and chooses my same outside line. Maybe he'll weave into other lanes a few times in between. I'll willingly switch lines, if I can guess that he won't be weaving again. But sometimes (such as at sidewalk constrictions or with overtaking traffic) switching lanes might not be an option.
Lots of times the most deliberate are aggressive males (young, or dysfunctional ones) who then mouth off and try to get an engagement when the cane is used to catch their attention or intermediate a collision. I see it maybe once a month. It's a foolish provocation, and some other short-trigger will call them on it someday. I just keep walking, let them keep their dignity.
Bicyclists on sidewalks shouldn't be coming up centerline behind peds in a side lane. I scan 360d and don't weave, but few other pedestrians do... those bikers are going to scramble up some poor walker sometime. A good biker on a sidewalk is rarely a problem, regardless of what the laws say. But most bikers on the sidewalks are not good bikers to begin with. They should particularly be taught to leave a mobility-challenged pedestrian some extra room, or at least a gentle warning.
And if I had $10 for every driver who doesn't signal turns correctly, I could buy the mayor's office. Still seeing lots with a phone to their ear, too. Even police cars frequently make unsignaled turns, creating ambiguous situations at intersections. Lots of times I think of carrying a camera and just taking pictures mid-infraction, with license plate and timestamp.
Anyway, back from the mentally handicapped to the physical, the cane is very handy at getting out of a crowded streetcar at a Metro station. People try to push in while others are trying to exit. They don't remember their physics, about two bodies in same place, same time. If I'm at the door while pulling in, and they're hunching up on the platform around the door as we stop, then I just bring my cane up horizontally to make a wide swath for us to exit. Stupid people will shove against others, but they try to avoid touching the cane. They think I'm weird, but that's better than stupid. Egress before ingress, bubba.
Waiting for light-changes at crowded intersections, I'll wait back away from the intersection, in a traffic shadow, then choose one of the slower, wider groups to follow. At each end of the crosswalk they'll spread out parallel to the curb, then march through the intersection and try to interpenetrate the two lines in the middle. Stupid, but predictable. I just follow the biggest stupidest winners.
Also at intersections, I've been using the cane more and more for spatial definition... there's great choice where the tip of the cane can rest on the ground, and when combined with the environment, it's a natural deterrent to someone walking up and standing right at my elbow. Sometimes at a slower intersection I'll just stand at the curb, far side of the crossing zone... if a second person then comes up the center, then a slow mid-grip Figure8 of the cane can persuade them to split the crossing zone equally. Generally I try to minimize motion while at an intersection, though. (Sometimes people will walk right up to a cane twirl and say "Hey watch it". I have zero idea why they don't choose a less aggressive sidewalk position in the first place... no need to walk up unnecessarily close to someone.)
These folks who increase ambiguity in traffic, and those who are aggressive... they are the ones most likely to get into confrontations. Accidents waiting to happen. Fights waiting to occur. Not with me, though. Let them lose to percentages with someone else.