Many are wondering whether the California Highway Patrol overreacted to a situation involving one man on Friday, which they said necessitated the closure of all eastbound lanes of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge for 17 hours.

The backup began around 2 p.m. Friday, and by early evening it was impacting multiple corners of the Bay. All we knew at the time was there was some undisclosed emergency on the lower (eastbound) deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and that all lanes were closed.

The emergency, as we learned Saturday morning, was a 17-hour standoff with a single man having a mental health crisis. The man was eventually talked off the bridge by negotiators around 7 a.m. Saturday, but this was after the response crippled a major piece of cross-bay infrastructure for the better part of a day and night.

The traffic backups extended into downtown San Francisco Friday evening as car poured through seeking alternate routes.

People sitting in traffic even started playing tennis!

Traffic extended to eastbound Highway 37 in Sonoma — which is often backed up for miles during busy commutes anyway — as commuters tried to turn around on 101 and travel toward I-80 to get to the East Bay via the Carquinez Bridge. That became a parking lot for hours.

As one witness who was on westbound 37 tells Bay Area News Group, "People were just standing outside their cars. It was nothing like we’d ever seen before."

We now learn that the man in crisis began by climbing down from the bike lane on the upper deck of the Richmond Bridge around 11:40 a.m. Friday, and the CHP says he was running into oncoming traffic in an attempt to get hit. When that didn't work, he climbed off the side of the bridge onto some scaffolding below, and was threatening to jump.

The CHP on Monday stood by the decision to completely shut down the lower deck of the bridge for as long as they did — in part because the bridge has no sidewalk and no shoulder.

"There’s no real way to keep a lane open while also safely negotiating with someone on that bridge," said CHP Officer Eduardo Villasenor, speaking to Bay Area News Group. Villasenor further said that negotiators would have been put in danger if they had allowed traffic through at all.

Villasenor also acknowledged that the timing, with Friday traffic, was also a factor. "There’s no best alternative route from that bridge," Villasenor tells the news group.

But what if crises like these become more frequent? And don't these things seem to be occurring more often? One man died on the Bay Bridge last week in similar circumstances after climbing onto the bridge structure, though the circumstances of that death were not explained. A major backup occurred on the westbound Bay Bridge last month due to a reportedly "despondent" pedestrian walking in the traffic lanes.

Maybe the CHP needs people stationed at the base of the bridges to catch anyone who looks like they're trying to walk on.

Previously: Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Reopened Saturday Morning After 17-Hour Standoff

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.