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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is one cool guy! He does martial arts. He fishes. He hunts. He’s bilingual. He scuba dives. He’s charismatic. He’s smart. He looks good topless. And, in the Aug. 31 AFP-Jiji photo titled “LEADER OF THE PACK,” he is shown riding a hog — in leather, no less.

Immediately, when I saw the image of him leading a pack of bikers through the Russian town of Novorossiysk as part of an annual festival there, I was struck by the complete absence of motorcycle safety helmets. It was a missed opportunity to greatly contribute to road safety not only in Russia, but elsewhere.

No doubt, Russian law does not mandate helmet use. I also have no doubt that injuries and deaths resulting from its absence is a considerable problem in Russia.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

grant piper

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