Officials approved a $76 million funding package to be used for a Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier.
The bridge district’s board of directors unanimously voted in favor of the suicide barrier. Of the $76 million, $20 million will come from toll revenue, $7 million will come from the state, and federal money will make up the rest of the funding. President Obama signed a law in 2012 that allowed safety barriers and nets eligible for federal funds.
Since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, more than 1,400 people have committed suicide by jumping from it, including a record 46 suicides last year. The suicide barrier will consist of a 20-foot-wide steel net, which will extend out from each side of the 1.7-mile-long bridge. A study has shown that similar suicide barriers are 100% effective.
Those opposed to the barrier believe that people desperate enough to attempt suicide from the bridge would just find another way to do it, making the barrier a waste of money. However, a researcher from University of California Berkeley discovered that more than 90% of would-be jumpers from the bridge were still alive decades later.
Supporters of the Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier include Kevin Hines, who miraculously survived a suicide attempt from the bridge in 2000, at age 18. When he recounts his experience, he always mentions that when he jumped, he felt immediate regret. Hines has toured for years as an advocate for suicide prevention. He notes that he chose the Golden Gate Bridge because he heard it was easy to commit suicide from it, and that this new suicide barrier will deter suicidal people. “Not one more soul will be lost to that bridge,” Hines, now 32, said.