Suicide nets have been approved for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The reason for this is that the Golden Gate is magnificent and also morbid in that it holds a shadowy duality. It is both an architectural phenomenon and is also a magnet for people wanting to commit suicide. In fact it is ranked as being the top suicide spot in the United States, and second worldwide.
Sergeant Kevin Briggs, now retired, once patrolled the bridge. He explained how people were drawn from all over the globe to the Golden Gate to get on it, not only to see it but also to kill themselves. Because of that, San Francisco’s Board of Directors decided to go ahead and approve over $75 million in funding to build a 20 foot wide steel net. It will extend out from both sides of the nearly two mile span in hopes of discouraging potential jumpers. The federal government has said it will contribute $50 million of the price tag and the rest will come from California and San Francisco state sources.
In 2013, nearly 50 people died after they jumped from the Golden Gate, stated the Bridge Rail Foundation, which is an association that is committed to trying to stop suicides on the bridge. The organization believes there have been over 1,600 individuals who have jumped to their deaths since the bridge opened up back in 1937. It’s beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and also the San Francisco Bay do nothing to deter those bent on ending their lives.
Officials have discussed erecting a suicide barricade on the bridge for a number of years. There was a vote taken back in 2008 which talked about installing a stainless steel net. It rejected various other selections such as raising the four foot high railings, which would have left the iconic view unaffected.
In 2010, it was decided the board would approve the large net. They went ahead and certified the closing environmental impact report, which stated the steel net would stretch around 20 feet wide on both sides of the bridge’s span. Officials declared it would not change the bridge’s landmark appearance.
People that have jumped most of the time undergo ghastly deaths, with colossal internal injuries, many broken bones and massive skull fractures. Most of them also suffer from massive internal bleeding and some also drown. However not all perish. One jumper who miraculously lived through his suicide attempt after jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge back in 2000, advised the board to pass the vote for the net. After it went through, he broke down.
A father who lost his daughter to the bridge back in 2008, spoke to the board as well, and said that he hoped some other type of safety measure could be taken before the net was erected in order to provide some sort of temporary protection. He explained that he did not want to see between now and the time the net is built is a rush of deaths. That would be a horrible irony.
Board members all agreed that the sooner the barrier was built, the better it would be. They stated it needed to be put up as soon as possible. Bidding for the job is expected to start in 2015 and job completion expected in 2018. The Golden Gate Bridge is both magnificent and morbid.
By Kimberly Ruble