I wear a helmet when I'm cycling because the law says I have to, not because I believe it makes me any safer. (I'm in Australia).
I dumped my helmet even in our(Bangalore, India) chaotic traffic and it turns out that it is far more safer than the auto-pilot traffic in the US and elsewhere IMO. There is very little chance a cyclist will be missed when you have cows and dogs(and elephants) wandering on the roads. And the majority of the cyclists don't wear one and I am no holy cow!
I'd appreciate your posting the references or sources of the statistics you cite indicating that cycling is less dangerous than walking or driving.
The perception that cycling is dangerous is very high in the USA, and I believe that perception is independent of any helmet laws or emphasis on helmet use. By and large, MV drivers do not expect cyclists on the road and do not accommodate them. What works in Europe may not work in the US. Copenhagenize? Don't you mean homogenize?
Over the last couple of months, Copenhagenize posts have indeed made me wonder about the real need for cycling helmets. Yet...
In Bangalore, we ride in/with traffic. While the speeds are low, the risks are a little higher - especially since "right of way" is not really something thats understood or respected. The helmet - given that "captive" cyclists are invisible to most drivers - affords me a measure of visibility, "weirdness" and people tend to watch out a little more than they do for regular cyclists.
I _sometimes_ wear a helmet when cycling. (I live in Boston, Masschusetts, USA.) I usually make a judgment call based on where I'm planning to bike and what I feel the risk is. Most bicyclists around here do wear helmets, but I'm noticing more and more people riding "regular" bikes (hybrids, cruisers, etc) who do not wear helmets and do wear regular clothes. This to me is a very good sign!