When I make comparisons about bicycle usage, walkable streets and compact urban areas, I use the USA and Holland as spectrum ends. I spoke with a woman from Germany last night at a bicycle industry function who said that Germany is somewhere between those poles: Not as cycling focused as Holland, and not as consistently let's-take-the-car as the US or the UK.
I also spoke with an Italian guy who works for Effetto Mariposa, an outfit that produces special (and cool) tools for bike shops. He said that he takes his kid to school on his bicycle at home in Bergamo (I believe) and he's the only parent at that school who does so. Everyone else uses the family car - for what may be (in his words) a two-kilometer trip.
There's no provision for cycling, he said. You are always fighting for road space with the cars.
We're not alone on the planet in our addiction to the automobile, are we? Not much comfort, is it?