After 77 Years, San Francisco Finally Approves Suicide Nets for Golden Gate Bridge

Sunday, June 29, 2014
North tower of the Golden Gate Bridge (photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

At least 1,600 people have killed themselves by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened in 1937, or about 21 a year. That rate should drop sharply when a net system to be strung under the iconic landmark is installed.


The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District voted Friday to approve the expenditure of $76 million to install nets about 20 feet below each side of the bridge. The nets should discourage jumpers. Anyone who jumps anyway will likely be injured, but not killed, when they fall into the barrier.


“We did it! It’s no longer the Bridge of Death anymore,” said Sue Story, whose son Jacob jumped off the bridge in 2010. The Bridge Rail Foundation, many of whose members have family and friends who have jumped from the bridge, has been working for years to have barriers installed.


The board voted in 2008 to install a net, but a lack of funding held up the process. Two years ago, a law was enacted providing federal funds for such barriers. Since then, the net has been designed and environmental review completed. The net is expected to be in place by 2018.

A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed that such barriers on other bridges cut the suicide rate by 86%. Some jumpers did go elsewhere, but overall the rate fell by 28%.


The motion to approve the net was made by board member John Moylan, according to the Associated Press. Moylan’s grandson Sean Moylan jumped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge earlier this month.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Golden Gate Bridge Board Oks $76 Million For Suicide Barrier (by Michael Cabanatuan, SFGate)

Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier Funding OK’d (by Sudhin Thanawala and Terry Collins, Associated Press)

Nearly One Golden Gate Bridge Suicide a Week as Plans for Safety Barrier Drag On (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

The Final Leap: Suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge (book be John Bateson)


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