The San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge will turn 50 in a couple of years, and officials are planning to celebrate its half-century with a multi-million-dollar lighting project. More than 350 people won’t be around to see it: They’ve committed suicide by jumping from the bridge.
Now, there’s talk of installing a suicide barrier, and community meetings are being held this week. They’re just in time, as my reporting reveals. The annual number of bridge suicides is skyrocketing for unknown reasons, reaching double-digits for six years in a row.
The all-time record of 19 bridge deaths came in 2012. This year’s toll is on pace to reach or beat that number.
Coronado Bridge stands virtually alone among “suicide magnet” bridges because it lacks a barrier, and it soon may reach a grim milestone by becoming the deadliest bridge in the United States. Workers are installing a net system at Golden Gate Bridge, the only bridge in the United States with a higher death toll.
My story examines the gruesome statistics and notes that research suggests barriers prevent suicides and don’t just move the problem elsewhere.
I wrote a series of stories about Coronado Bridge suicides for VOSD in 2008, touching on topics such as survivors of leaps from the bridge, the news media’s suicide blackout, and the role of the police in preventing suicides. You can find a list of the stories along with links here.