Tributes paid to Galway woman who inspired many by taking to trike at 79

Cycling campaigners, the Minister for State for Transport, TDs, and council officials have paid tribute to Marie Silke (née Coppinger) who, after a short illness, passed away peacefully at the Galway Hospice with her loving family by her side.

As well as appearing in person cycling around Galway, Marie was also featured in national newspaper articles in 2020 — a brightness of inspiration in a dark year.

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She told the Irish Independent how she can spend an hour on the bike and not even feel it. Her son, Richard was already a cycling campaigner when she got the bike, but he told the Irish Dail Mail that getting the trike was all his mother’s idea.

IMAGE: Marie Silke pictured with family on a protest cycle calling for the Salthill cycle path to be built (Photo by
Mike Shaughnessy).

It turned out that Marie’s neighbour, Mary Farrell also bought the same bike and the two learned together how to cycle them.

The Galway Cycling Campaign said: “Marie Silke RIP – Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.” The Campain has changed its social media logo to include a silhouette of a woman on her trike in the form of “I [bike] Salthill” in memory of Marie who campaigned for the Salthill cycle route.

Hildegarde Naughton, a Galway TD and Minister for State for Transport, said: “Very sorry to hear that Richard. Your mum was inspiring and I know she will be missed by your family and the wider community. A great lady. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”

Ciaran Cannon, another Galway TD, said: “So sorry to hear that Richard. She was an inspiration to all. My deepest sympathy to you and yours. May your precious mother rest in peace.”

The Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Marie Silke a great advocate for cycling all over and a brilliant figure in Galway. Marie was a fantastic example of the importance and accessibility of cycling to people with mobility issues. Our condolences are with you and your family Richard.”

I BIKE Dublin said: “The entire cycling community is saddened by the death of Marie Silke. She was a trailblazer who helped to change the public perception of what it means to be a cyclist. Our sincere condolences to all her family and those who loved her. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.”

Cyclist.ie said: “Marie really was an inspiration @SilkeRichard. We are all thinking of you and the rest of her family. Ní bheidh a leithead arís ann.”

Robert Burns, a Dublin-based council official, said: “That is really sad to hear, Richard. Your mother and her friend on their trikes helped inspire me and the team in DLR when we were planning and designing the Coastal Mobility Route.”

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