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An interesting opinion piece in the New York Times about how the difference in the way people think about transportation is a primary driving force in how we get around, and why we’re so much more auto-dependent than much of Europe. Some telling examples on the different mindsets and how the coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired into their cultures:

* Dutch drivers are taught that when you are about to get out of the car, you reach for the door handle with your right hand — bringing your arm across your body to the door. This forces a driver to swivel shoulders and head, so that before opening the door you can see if there is a bike coming from behind.

* Every Dutch child has to pass a bicycle safety exam at school.

* The way people shop is different; people buy fresh foods almost daily. Bulk buying is almost nonexistent. Instead of shopping for a week, people stop at the market daily. So the need for processed loaves of bread that will last for days is gone.

What do you think, readers? Could we implement similar cultural changes here at home?

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