A pressure group is celebrating after it was announced that the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco will have a suicide barrier installed. A funding package of a $76 million will be put in place to cover the work.
There were emotional scenes as the news was announced following pressure from relatives of previous bridge jumpers.
Construction of the bridge began in 1933 and it was open for business in 1937. So how come a suicide barrier has been such a long time coming? Perhaps the incidents of jumpers has increased recently as we all experience tough times but it would have always attracted people wanting to commit suicide.
The news reminded this writer of a high road bridge we encountered on vacation to Austria and Switzerland in the late 80s. The bridge was amazing but obviously a magnet for jumpers. Authorities had put a suicide barrier in place but only where jumpers would fall on the fast moving modern motorway below.
It could be that the authorities wanted to prevent traffic injuries below but more likely they did not want the traffic flow disturbed. Either way it seemed callous. Jumping from the parts of the bridge which ran over beautiful countryside would still have meant certain death.
In this writer's neck of the woods the Humber Bridge was opened in 1981 and it rivalled the Golden Gate for its size. It now also rivals that bridge for its number of jumpers.
According to the Grimsby Telegraph in early 2013 "The Humber Bridge features in the gruesome "10 Most Popular Suicide Spots on Earth" at number 9, with an average of seven suicide jumps a year.
The Humber Bridge has a safety barrier in place but authorities have been reviewing its efficiency.
Five jumpers have survived the 98ft fall into the cold and murky waters of the Humber (2013 figures). Locally the joke is that just entering the Humber is enough to kill you due to the quality of the water.
It's good news that the Golden Gate will now have a suicide barrier in place but how effective it will be is not known. If it is high and built to really hinder jumpers it could do the trick.
However remember the old adage, where-there's-a-will-there's-a-way.