The Golden Gate Transportation District has confirmed that 2013 was a record year for suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge, with 46 reported deaths, including ten in the month of August.
Over 2000 people are believed to have died after leaping off the Golden Gate Bridge, which a recent LA Times op-ed referred to as a "suicide magnet," saying that "suicide sites tend to draw despairing people to them, and the numbers show that the Golden Gate Bridge exerts a stronger pull than anywhere else."
The author of that op-ed was John Bateson, author of The Final Leap, a book about people who take their own lives from the Bridge. He told ABC7 that he believes 2013's number was so high because this was the first year that the Bridge no longer had toll takers, which reduced drivers' options in reporting people who appeared to be suicidal.
Many, like Slate contributor Liza Gross, believe that a suicide barrier would prevent many of these deaths. The GGB District apparently agrees with that assertion, but only to a point. Though the Bridge's board approved a barrier in 2008, the project has yet to be funded.
The perennially underfunded district is, the Chron reports today, facing an estimated $142 million budget shortfall over the next five years. They're struggling to fill that hole by proposing yet another toll increase. The new tolls, $6 for FasTrak users and $7 for those without, could take effect as soon as this April.
We at SFist urge anyone who might be contemplating suicide to instead contact San Francisco Suicide Prevention, which has a 24-hour hotline at (415) 781-0500 and an online chat option here. We don't want to write about you in this capacity! Please seek help, instead.