Anyone living in Metro Vancouver is dependent on bridges for getting around the region. Any delays on the bridges, can back traffic up for kilometres and make everyone late and frustrated. Many things can cause bridge traffic to get backed up. Accidents are the main causes of bridge backups. Most bridges have tow trucks at either end for vehicle issues which, impede traffic. The other major thing that can tie up traffic on our bridges are people who want to commit suicide by jumping off the bridge.*

In Metro Vancouver, when someone threatens to jump off of a bridge it becomes a major incident. The police are called and the bridge is generally shut down. Most of the bridges are several lanes in each direction so it would seem that an incident like that could be handled without shutting the bridge down. Except for one very disturbing fact: as people go by they tell people to jump! I guess they get annoyed because traffic has slowed and part of their day has been taken up. So instead bridges can be shut down, sometime for hours, while police and professionals try to prevent a tragedy.

Today in Winnipeg there was a situation where a woman was going to jump off the Osborne bridge and into the Assiniboine river. Instead of drivers going by and telling her to jump a bus stopped and several people helped to bring her to safety. She is currently alive and in hospital.

What is the difference between Metro Vancouver and Winnipeg? I am not sure. I don’t think people here are inherently different from people in Winnipeg. I don’t know much about Winnipeg. Perhaps there are not as many bridges there as there in Metro Vancouver. There are close to 700,000 in Winnipeg compared to over 2.5 million in Metro Vancouver. I wonder if it is a function of increased population which, might mean a heightened sense of anonymity. Winnipeg may have fewer bridges with a smaller population and less intensive traffic.

Regardless of the reason I would prefer that we behaved like Winnipeggers. I would rather live in a world where we help people who are in crisis rather than mock them. Anyone have any idea about what fuels this difference?

*Or less fondly known as ‘jumpers’ in this neck of the woods.