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Hi Tconi, "CULTURE cannot be overstressed.
Nearly everyone who drives here, grew up riding a bike here, and probably were presented with a bicycle about the same time they leared to walk.

Sounds good. And pretty much in line with my impression although I haven't been to europe since the 80s.

I was impressed even then with how much respect cyclists were given. In German cities and towns bike lanes often used some combination of sidewalk and a bike lane in the street. Where cyclists were to go was clearly deliniated.

"Culture" is a broad term that can mean a lot of different things to each of us. The way I see it we share a lot of cultural similarities and cultural differences with europeans.

As for "everyone who drives" having grown up riding a bike, and having been "presnted with a bike at about the same time as they learned to walk".

I don't know anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, that anyone didn't grow up riding a bike.

I have mixed feelings about riding on the sidewalk myself. In states and provinces where I grew up and spent much of my adult life biking it was taboo to ride on the sidewalk. But here in Florida, cyclists have the option of riding on the sidewalk or the street, and there are times when I'm glad to get off a busy city street where large vehicles are whizzing past at up to 60mph.

You might say it's a different culture.

I'd call it a different attitude. Cyclists seem to get more respect in some places than others.

I'm not sure it's just a Europe, vs US thing, or something that varies from region to region with greater awareness of environmental concerns.
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