Planetizen recently posted responses to five common complaints about bike lanes that are going in in Hoboken, NJ. One new question/response was this:
Response: Precedents in other American cities (New York City, Minneapolis) have shown that on one-way streets with parallel parking on both sides, bikers benefit from a much lower risk of being "doored" (unexpectedly hit by a car door opening) when the bike lane is on the left side of the street adjacent to the passenger-side door (instead of the driver-side door). This is particularly true during peak traffic periods when many vehicles have no passenger (solo commuters). Also, since drivers sit on the left side of cars, they have better visibility of bicyclists of all sizes. On streets with bus stops, left-side bike lanes prevent bicyclists from jockeying with buses (currently not the case in Hoboken, but also a design factor). Nonetheless, bikers should watch out for passenger doors opening, keep a reasonable distance from doors by staying in the far right portion of the bike lane, and remember to slow down or stop to avoid swerving into the vehicular lane if a door appears to be opening.
The Times wrote about lefty bike lanes as well (in NYC cyclists nominally have to use a bike lane if one is present)
A study of lefty lanes was done in Minneapolis, but it wasn't conclusive - in my opinion, but the idea has enough logic behind it to have possible merit.
And in Portland, they're experimenting with Enhanced or Buffered Bike Lanes (as well as cycletracks).
The six-foot-wide bike lane will be buffered by a two-foot striped "shy zone" on both side, separating bike traffic from parking and motorized traffic.
The cycle track, on the other hand, will remove one of three automobile lanes on Southwest Broadway for a dedicated 7-foot-wide bikeway between Clay and Jackson streets. Parking spaces on the west side of the street would be moved several feet to the left, away from the sidewalk, creating a barrier of parked cars between cyclists and auto traffic.
There would also be a 3-foot painted shy zone between parking and the bikeway, allowing people to get out of cars without disrupting bike traffic.
DDOT's plodding along towards it's goal of 50 miles of bike lanes. It would be nice to see them try some of these tools, and bike lanes that have a foot or two of "shy zone" between the bike lane and the parked cars. Studies show that cyclists tend to ride just outside of the center of the bike lane. If you move the center, that should encourage cyclists to move away from the door zone.