Should BC bridges have suicide prevention mechanisms?
VANCOUVER, B.C. — The iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is slated to have suicide barriers installed, after a decades-long battle. The decision south of the border is making others wonder whether BC’s bridges should also have nets or fences installed to prevent people from making that final, desperate decision to take their own lives.
The only bridge in the Lower Mainland that currently has a dedicated anti-suicide fence is the Golden Ears Crossing. But the three-metres high poles are also being installed on the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.
Experts say the Lions Gate can’t take the extra weight, so crisis phones have been installed there. And there are plans to do the same thing on the new Port Mann bridge when the pedestrian portion is complete. The Alex Fraser bridge currently has no suicide-prevention mechanisms.
According to the BC Crisis Line’s website, the province averages 500 suicides a year, but the agency doesn’t track how many of those were caused by people jumping off a bridge. BC’s Transportation Ministry says its priorities are currently with the Ironworkers and Lions Gate Bridges, since they have the highest pedestrian traffic.
–With files from Ted Chernecki
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