There is risk in bicycling as with any other activity, but it turns out the risk is about the same as the risk of serious injury or death while driving. While I agree with efforts to promote increased safety for cyclists, the public interest is not served by exaggerating the risks to the point of discouraging people from riding their bikes.
I just noticed that Paul posts some thoughts of his own on cycling and safety. He writes:
The perception that bicycling is dangerous is greatly exaggerated -- by non-cyclists who use "danger" as a rationalization, by cycling social rebels who like biking's outre image, and perhaps also by bike advocates (facilities people and vehicularists alike).
We may need to reposition our demand for improved bicycling infrastructure, from an emphasis on safety improvement to an emphasis on bike lanes as eco-friendly community enhancement. Which would you rather have rolling through your neighborhood? Smiling bicyclists, or impatient road-raging SUV drivers? Bicycling is a fun, healthy, energy-saving, life-enhancing, and life-extending activity. And bicycling is safe.