Steel

Golden Gate Bridge suicide-prevention nets fully installed

After decades of suicide-prevention advocacy, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge has steel-mesh nets installed along its full length to deter jumpers, officials announced Wednesday.

“We have a continuous physical suicide barrier installed the full length of the 1.7-mile bridge on the east and the west side,” said Dennis Mulligan, general manager of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. “The bridge is sealed up.”

Work had been under way since 2018 to install the stainless-steel mesh nets, which are 20 feet wide and placed 20 feet down from the bridge’s deck. While not visible from the street, they can be seen by pedestrians.

Mulligan said that even before the project was completed, the number of people who jumped declined from 30 to 14 on average per year, and those who did die did so in the spots where the nets weren’t up yet.

“Had the net been there, I would have been stopped by the police and gotten the help I needed immediately and never broken my back, never shattered three vertebrae, and never been on this path I was on,” said Kevin Hines, who miraculously survived his suicide attempt in 2000, when he was 19. “I’m so grateful that a small group of like-minded people never gave up on something so important.”

A memorial to those lost to the Golden Gate Bridge is attached to a fence below the bridge at Fort Point in San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. A suicide prevention barrier at the bridge is near completion more than a decade after officials approved it. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
A memorial to those lost to the Golden Gate Bridge is attached to a fence below the bridge at Fort Point in San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. A suicide prevention barrier at the bridge is near completion more than a decade after officials approved it. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Hines, one of the approximately 40 people who have survived a leap, is now a suicide-prevention advocate. His parents were among those who led the charge for the nets to be installed.

The mesh serves as a deterrent as well as a physical barrier, Mulligan noted, because anyone who tries to surmount it could cause themselves severe injury, in addition to thwarting their suicide attempt.

“It’s stainless-steel wire rope netting, so it’s like jumping into a cheese grater,” Mulligan said. “It’s not soft. It’s not rubber. It doesn’t stretch.”

At least 1,800 people have died jumping off the bridge since it opened in 1937, according to the Bridge Rail Foundation, which spearheaded the most recent push to finish the job, after years of delays.

With News Wire Services


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