How safe is flying a small plane, such as a Cessna 172?

I'm thinking of taking flight lessons but was wandering how safe is flying a small plane. I couldn't find any statistics on that. I know commercial aviation is the safest way of travel but what about recreational flying ?
Update: Thanks for your replys. I was hoping that somebody could point me to some actual statistical data for private aviation, I couldn't find it, there's plenty on commercial aviation. I actually read somewhere that flying a small plane is 4 times more dangerous then driving a car. Also to the guy who thinks... show more Thanks for your replys. I was hoping that somebody could point me to some actual statistical data for private aviation, I couldn't find it, there's plenty on commercial aviation. I actually read somewhere that flying a small plane is 4 times more dangerous then driving a car.

Also to the guy who thinks he's superman (JetDoc)... the reason people like are able to do what they want is because there are people who actually put a little bit of thought in what they do... as an engineer I like to gather a little bit of data before I jump and do something...
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