Isn't cycling dangerous?

Almost every organisation that has anything to do with cycling has a waiver for participation that requires acknowledgement of the inherent dangers of cycling and the capacity to cause death. Between the hollering about mandatory helmets, the headlines of “cyclist crushed by truck” that are sensationalised in the media and lack of familiarity across the general public with cycling it seems people are believing that riding a bicycle is a dangerous activity reserved for the Gen-Y extreme set. The reality is far different.
Several studies I read compared driving a car with riding a bike and found that in most western countries the risk of hospitalisation or death is about the same per hour of exposure. So cycling is more risky per kilometre travelled, but an hour of driving and an hour of cycling are roughly the same. Yet few people would argue that driving is particularly dangerous. Most do it every day and expect no worse outcome than a nasty fuel bill when petrol prices next skyrocket or to be nabbed by the speed camera as they whiz by at 5 kmh over the limit (in a crass revenue grab).
Head injury is a definite risk on a bicycle. It is also a similar risk in a car. Despite air bags and air curtains, seat belts and active head restraints people end up with head injuries after car accidents all the time. While not really in the everyday occurrence, I know of two people who have died while in a minor accident just because their unprotected head hit their uncovered roll cage in a competition car. The interior of cars are getting softer, rounder, more friendly with each generation of cars (and Europe is pushing for the softening of the front exterior of cars to save pedestrians) but still you can hit your head on something hard in the car and suffer brain injury or death.
One very cogent argument suggested that these impacts are very much in the realm of what a bicycle helmet is meant to protect you from. Which is a roundabout way of getting to the fact that if all motor vehicle occupants were required to wear a bike helmet you would save far more people than any cycling safety measure just through sheer numbers. It would be a brave (and stupid) politician that introduced such a law. I imagine the subsequent election would see the appointment of an opposing party on the platform of removing this law, despite the fact that it would do a good thing for general safety.
I propose that cycling helmet laws are hypocritical for the reason that they do help cyclists but the same rules applied to motorists would help approximately as much (with commensurate bigger outcomes).
When the UK government considered MHLs in the 90s they rejected them using Australian evidence in the main. Initially lower rider numbers (I don’t believe that the reduction is permanent) at a time when they saw cycling as a way to reduce congestion in cities like London and as a means of reducing obesity was one reason. No clear benefit for the cycling population in the Australian numbers was probably just as big.