Bridge to Nowhere: a Map of Golden Gate Jumpers
Some places exert a morbid attraction on the terminally disenchanted - like light pole 69 on the Golden Gate Bridge
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
It’s 75 metres (245 ft) down from the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge to the water below. That drop will kill most people (*). And that’s exactly what it did to over 1,200 people who jumped off the bridge since its opening in 1937.
San Francisco’s most famous landmark, the world’s longest suspension bridge at its opening, has earned the sad distinction of being the world’s most popular suicide spot (others include Aokigahara, the “Sea of Trees” at the foot of Mount Fuji [Japan], Niagara Falls [US/Can], Beachy Head and Clifton Bridge [both in England]).
The number of jumpers from the bridge, spanning the over 2 km (6,700 ft) wide strait at the entrance of San Francisco Bay, has varied greatly throughout the years, never more than around 10 until 1960 (with the exception of the 20 of 1948), then rising dramatically to peak at 40 in 1977 and dropping again to a low of less than 10 in 1990.
In 2004, 24 people jumped off the Bridge, spiking to 38 in 2007 – an increase many blamed on The Bridge, a documentary about the place’s fatal attraction. In 2008, authorities voted to install a ‘safety net’ six metres below the Bridge.
This cartogram details the exact locations of the suicides, corresponding them with the 128 light poles that line the Bridge (east to west, even ones on the oceanside, uneven ones on the bayside). For obvious reasons, the areas closest to the edges of the Bridge are less popular (most suicides aim for maximum effect, i.e. longest way down). Remarkably, the bayside is a lot more popular than the oceanside. The hotspot is light pole 69 with, as of this map, 56 recorded suicides.
Many thanks to Szymon Piotr Nogalski, who most recently submitted this map, and others who did so earlier. The map was sourced here on SFGate, the online presence of the San Francisco Chronicle, the newspaper that first published this suicide map.
Strange Maps #398
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
(*) After a fall of about 4 seconds, a jumper would hit the water at approximately 140 km/h (87 mph) – lethal in most cases. Those surviving the actual fall usually succumb to hypothermia, induced by the cold (8°C/47°F) water of the Bay. Over the decades, 26 people are known to have survived the fall and the cold water.
Want a happy, satisfying relationship? Psychologists say the best way is to learn to take a joke.
- New research looks at how partners' attitudes toward humor affects the overall quality of a relationship.
- Out of the three basic types of people, people who love to be laughed at made for better partners.
- Fine-tuning your sense of humor might be the secret to a healthy, happy, and committed relationship.
A measles comeback is not the sort of return our children deserve.
- The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven't received any vaccinations has quadrupled in the last 17 years.
- In 2016 in Europe there were 5,273 cases of measles. One year later that jumped to 21,315 cases.
- Discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield's false study linking vaccines and autism still influences parents, two decades later.
A new study delivers the dark financial reality of cancer.
- 62 percent of cancer patients report being in debt due to their treatment.
- 55 percent accrue at least $10,000 in debt, while 3 percent file for bankruptcy.
- Cancer costs exceed $80 billion in America each year.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.