By David Wade

BOSTON (CBS) – It started out as maybe a protest, or maybe a joke, or maybe a little of both. But the City of Boston has washed away the hand painted bike lane on the Congress St. bridge.

That cleanup happened late Wednesday night. On Thursday, some cyclists are saying what’s left of the artwork is drawing attention to bike safety.

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The picture that launched a thousand tweets shows the hand painted bike lane. Not that artistic and definitely not straight, the lane got a lot of attention when Mike Blackwell saw it as he rode to work and took the photo. “For one, I thought it was hysterically funny because it was all sort of crude and wiggly, but also it’s super needed,” he says.

That’s because Mike says the bridge is popular with cyclists. “This is a major corridor for bikes and it’s really tight with the cars coming through. They’re always coming to the curb,” he says.

But the city didn’t see it quite that way and removed the paint, but you can still see the outline of the lane and the bike symbol.

Fake bike lane cleaned off Congress Street Bridge (WBZ-TV)

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In a statement, the Boston Transportation Dept. says: “We understand the motivation behind the hand painting of this bike lane. However, it is important that all potential bike lane designs go through an engineering review to ensure safety for all users.”

“This bridge could easily accommodate bike lanes. It has the width,” says Doug Johnson who heads the Boston Cyclists Union.

He hopes the do it yourself lane spurs the city to act. “We would like to see the city follow through on that and stripe bike lanes on the bridge as well as make improvements in other stretches, particularly the connections between Fort Point Channel in Boston and downtown,” he says.

Meanwhile Mike Blackwell’s twitter account is busier than ever since he posted the picture.

“There were hundreds of likes and retweets which really surprised me. So obviously it struck a chord with a lot of people,” he says.

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The Boston Transportation Dept. says it will review the bridge to see if a bike lane is workable.

David Wade