The World’s Most Famous Suicide Bridges
Blog Note: In no way does this post intend to make light of suicide. One must be in considerable pain to jump from any tall place in order to die. God bless the jumpers, I cannot imagine that type of pain in one’s life, so I am also at a loss for words to explain it. Jumping off a bridge to die is the last “screw you” to the World.
OF ALL THE METHODS OF SUICIDE at our disposal (and there are many), falling from a great height is the most dramatic. It’s also the most narcissistic, as it is only after one thing: drawing attention to oneself. Why not kill yourself at home, the rational and irritated public wonders. Why not swallow pills at a late hour of the night when the whole city is sleeping, then lie in your own bed and quietly die just before dawn? Why this grand declaration of your despair? Because with jumpers, it is not the death that is important, but rather that the fall is witnessed and reported. This has to be true, as no one has ever heard of a person driving to the country and jumping to their death from a tall pine tree where only bears and beavers might see them. No! This has never happened.
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has had more suicides than any other in the world, the number currently being over 1,200. In 2004, documentary filmmaker Eric Steel set off controversy by revealing that he had tricked the bridge committee into allowing him to film the Golden Gate for months, and had captured 23 suicides on film for his documentary The Bridge. In March 2005, San Francisco supervisor Tom Ammiano proposed funding a study on erecting a suicide barrier on the bridge.
In Seattle, Washington, more than 230 people have died by suicide from the George Washington Memorial Bridge, making it the second deadliest suicide bridge in the United States. In a span of a decade ending in January 2007, nearly 50 people jumped to their deaths, nine in 2006. At a cost of $5,000,000, a suicide barrier was completed on February 16, 2011.
The Cold Spring Canyon Bridge in Santa Barbara County has seen 55 jumps by suicide since opening in 1964, including 7 in 2009. A proposal to install a barrier on this bridge has brought intense debate.
About 300 people have jumped to their death from the Nusle Bridge, in Prague, Czech Republic. Barriers almost 3 metres high were erected here in 1997 with aim to prevent further jumps. In 2007, the fencing was topped off with a 3-foot-wide strip (0.91 m) of polished metal to make it impossible to climb.
A notable suicide bridge in London is the Hornsey Lane Bridge, which passes over Archway Road and connects theHighgate and Crouch End areas. The bridge provides views of notable landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral and The Gherkin.
To reach such locations, those with the intention to die by suicide must often walk long distances to reach the point where they finally decide to jump. For example, some jumpers have travelled over the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge by car to reach the Golden Gate.