During the early years of the twentieth century, the Colorado Street Bridge was and still is known locally as "Suicide Bridge" after dozens of suicides. A suicide barrier was added which reduced the number of suicides, but the bridge retained its nickname. Despite efforts to deter suicides, people have still found it very easy to commit suicides. The latest suicide occurred when a man jumped off the bridge to his death on May 5, 2014, as reported by a local newspaper. In the 1970s, the bridge was a filming location in Episode 13 of the TV series Emergency! fifth season where a boy was shown trapped (the bridge was given the fictitious name Johnson Canyon Bridge in the episode). In 1989, after the Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California, the bridge was declared a seismic hazard and closed to traffic. It was reopened in 1993 after a substantial retrofit. The bridge is closed each summer for a festival, "A Celebration on the Colorado Street Bridge", hosted by historic preservation group Pasadena Heritage.
The bridge was site of the beginning of The Amazing Raceseason 21. The contestants had to rappel down the side of the bridge to their awaiting cars to start the race.