New barrier on Golden Gate Bridge constructed to save lives


Joseph Zuloaga '23

While the Golden Gate Bridge is a city landmark, it is also a place of sadness for those who have lost loved ones on the span. With the addition of a suicide barrier, many hope this will protect lives.

Hana Wadlow '25, Staff Reporter

More than 40,000 Americans lose their lives to suicide every year, with 60 percent of suicides caused by firearms and the other 40 percent caused by pills, hanging, or jumping.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is the location where many take their lives. The average age of Golden Gate Bridge jumpers is under 40, but 10 percent of jumpers are in their teens.

Kevin Hines ’00, is an American suicide prevention speaker, who, 22 years ago, survived the 220 foot drop from the Golden Gate Bridge.

He said, “I didn’t get on any cord or ledge to be talked back over, I was in free fall. I remember that moment of free fall occurring, that second of free fall, and that instant regret. And the thought that it was too late.”

That day, Sept. 25, 2000, Hines survived with only a spine injury. He calls himself the 1 percent.

Fewer than 35 people have survived an attempt from the Golden Gate Bridge. Many, mostly teens, according to the Bridge Rail Foundation, thought that jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge was easy and quick.

Kevin Hines ’00 visited his alma mater in February to talk about suicide prevention and his own experience being one of the few who have survived a leap from the Golden Gate Bridge. (Angelina Ning ’23 )

They also thought that it would be a way to spare the feelings of
their loved ones having to find their remains.

Keeping this in mind, the city decided to make a change. 

Although the additions will minutely alter the original design of the bridge, there are many who hope it will cease the alarming rate of suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Noting that 30 people or more die from suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge each year, there are hundreds more who have been stopped from harming themselves.

The Suicide Deterrent System, known as the SDS, is put in charge of keeping people from harming themselves on this bridge.

The idea was to add a net to both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge, which will remain unseen, to appease critics who thought it would mar the beauty of the long lasting landmark, which celebrates its 85th anniversary this month.

The net extends 20 feet out from under the bridge. The gray steel net was designed to maintain the scenic beauty, but ensure the safety of those who jump from it.

Each of the tube structures holding up the net will be painted the same International Orange color of the bridge. The coloring of the structure holding the net will allow it to blend into the original structure of the bridge.

A bridge known as a landmark was also a sad place for many, but because of the new physical barrier, many hope it will put an end to the tragedies.