A suicide bridge is a bridge used frequently to die by suicide, most typically by jumping off and into the water or ground below. A fall from the height of a tall bridge into water may be fatal, although people have survived jumps from high bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge. Medical examiners at the Golden Gate Bridge state that jumpers suffer a gruesome death as their bodies hit the water at 80 mph (130 km/h), with severe organ damage (multiple ruptured organs) and broken necks, pelvises, etc.
To reach such locations, those with the intention to die by suicide must often walk long distances to reach the point where they finally decide to jump. For example, some individuals have traveled over the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge by car in order to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Suicide prevention advocates believe that suicide by bridge is more likely to be impulsive than other means, and that barriers can have a significant effect on reducing the incidence of suicides by bridge. One study showed that installing barriers on the Duke Ellington Bridge in Washington, D.C.—which has a high incidence of suicide—did not cause an increase of suicides at the nearby Taft Bridge. A similar result was seen when barriers were erected on the popular suicide bridge: the Clifton Suspension Bridge, in the United Kingdom. Families affected and groups that help the mentally ill have lobbied governments to erect similar barriers. One such barrier is the Luminous Veil on the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto, Canada, once considered North America's second deadliest bridge, with over 400 jumps on record.
Special telephones with connections to crisis hotlines are sometimes installed on bridges.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Mooney Mooney Bridge on the Central Coast (New South Wales), and the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne, Australia and the Story Bridge in Brisbane are considered suicide bridges. Sydney Harbour Bridge has a suicide prevention barrier. In February 2009, following the murder of a four-year-old girl who was thrown off the bridge by her father, the first stage of a temporary suicide barrier was erected on Westgate Bridge, constructed of concrete crash barriers topped with a welded mesh fence. The permanent barrier has now been completed throughout the span of the bridge. The barriers are costed at $20 million and have been reported to have reduced suicide rates on the Westgate by 85%.
- The High Level Bridge (Edmonton) in Edmonton, Alberta, is considered a suicide bridge. It is unknown how many deaths have occurred at the bridge, but there have been at least 25 in total, with 10 being from 2012-2013. There have also been many failed attempts at the bridge. A suicide prevention barrier has been installed along with signage and support phone lines.
- The Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, Quebec, is considered a suicide bridge. In 2004, a suicide prevention barrier was installed. Until then the bridge saw an average of 10 suicides a year.
- The Prince Edward Viaduct, commonly referred to as the Bloor Viaduct, in Toronto, Ontario, was considered a suicide bridge. With nearly 500 suicides by 2003, the Viaduct was ranked as the second most fatal standing structure in North America, after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Suicides dropped to zero after a barrier was completed in 2003.
- The Lethbridge Viaduct in Lethbridge, Alberta, also known as the High Level Bridge, locally known as the Deathbridge, is considered a suicide bridge. It is unknown how many deaths have occurred at the bridge in its 107 year long history. Suicide prevention signage has been installed at the entrance to the bridge, however no further prevention program is in development.
About 300 people have jumped to their death from the Nusle Bridge, in Prague, Czech Republic. Barriers almost 3 metres high were erected here in 1997 with aim to prevent further jumps. In 2007, the fencing was topped off with a 3-foot-wide strip (0.91 m) of polished metal to make it impossible to climb.
- 88 people have jumped to their death from the Van Stadens Bridge, near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. A barrier has since been installed.
- The Mapo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea has been used for suicides frequently, leading to its nicknames of "Suicide Bridge" and "The Bridge of Death". South Korean authorities have tried to counter this by nicknaming the bridge "The Bridge of Life" and posting reassuring messages on the ledges.
- The Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and was opened in 1864. Since then, it has gained a reputation as a suicide bridge, with over 500 deaths from jumping. It has plaques that advertise the telephone number of The Samaritans. In 1998, the bridge was fitted with suicide barriers, which halved the suicide rate in the years following. CCTV is also installed on the bridge.
- A notable suicide bridge in London is the Hornsey Lane Bridge, which passes over Archway Road and connects the Highgate and Crouch End areas. The bridge provides views of notable landmarks such as St. Paul's Cathedral, The Gherkin and The Shard. It was the venue for the mental illness campaign group Mad Pride's inaugural vigil in 2000, and was the subject of Johnny Burke's 2006 film The Bridge. When, at the end of 2010, three men in three weeks committed suicide by jumping from the bridge, a campaign was set up by local residents for better anti-suicide measures to be put in place. In October 2015 Islington Council and Haringey Council approved Transport for London's plans for the construction of a safety fence.
- At the Humber Bridge in Hull More than 200 incidents of people jumping or falling from the bridge have taken place since opening in 1981. Between 1990 and February 2001 the Humber Rescue Team was called 64 times to deal with people falling or jumping off the bridge.
- Another notable suicide bridge is Itchen Bridge in Southampton, situated over the mouth of the Itchen at its convergence with the Test. The Itchen Bridge has seen over 200 suicides since opening and a Samaritans notice and intercom have been installed.
- The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has the second highest number of suicides in the world, after the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, with around 1,600 bodies having been recovered as of 2012, and the assumption of many more unconfirmed deaths. In 2004, documentary filmmaker Eric Steel set off controversy by revealing that he had tricked the bridge committee into allowing him to film the Golden Gate for months and had captured 23 suicides on film for his documentary The Bridge (2006). In March 2005, San Francisco supervisor Tom Ammiano proposed funding a study on erecting a suicide barrier on the bridge. In June 2014, a suicide barrier was approved for the Golden Gate bridge.
- In Seattle, Washington, more than 230 people have died by suicide from the George Washington Memorial Bridge, making it the second deadliest suicide bridge in the United States. In a span of a decade ending in January 2007, nearly 50 people jumped to their deaths, nine in 2006. At a cost of $5,000,000, a suicide barrier was completed on February 16, 2011.
- The San Diego-Coronado Bridge is the third-deadliest suicide bridge in the United States, followed by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- The Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge along State Route 154 in Santa Barbara County, California has seen 55 jumps by suicide since opening in 1964, including 7 in 2009. A proposal to install a barrier on this bridge in 2005 led to the completion of a safety barrier/fence in March, 2012.
- Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, California, has also seen barriers erected.
- During the mid-20th century in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Wissahickon Memorial Bridge had a policeman stationed after it opened because of the numerous suicides taking place.
- In recent years,[when?] the Eads Bridge, connecting St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois, has seen several suicides, approximately 18 since its re-opening.
- Cornell University has had a number of suicides by jumping from the bridges over the gorges in the campus from the 1970s to 2010.
- New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia
- Suicide Bridge Road is located just off Maryland Route 14 near the town of Secretary, Maryland.
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