Delhi's newest bridge gets deck to deter risky selfie takers

Michael Safi in Delhi

Photos of people climbing on Signature Bridge cables emerge as India tries to prevent more selfie deaths

A 154m-high viewing deck and several ‘selfie points’ are being built at at Signature Bridge o dissuade risky photos. Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities in Delhi were hoping a newly opened bridge would be a draw for tourists – but are now struggling to find ways to stop them taking dangerous selfies on the structure.

A 154m-high viewing deck is being built and several “selfie points” will be designated to dissuade people from risking their lives for pictures, in a country where more people die taking selfies than anywhere else in the world.

The Signature Bridge, a 675m-long cable-stayed construction that connects Delhi to the area of Wazirabad, was opened to the public last Monday.

The tallest structure in the city, it has drawn thousands of tourists in the past week, who motorists complain are slowing traffic by driving on the wrong side of the road or stopping to take pictures, play music and sightsee.

Local media published pictures on Friday evening of people climbing on suspension cables or hanging from moving cars to get shots of themselves on the bridge.

“We are asking people not to risk their lives to take selfies,” said Rajvir Singh, from the nearby New Usmanpur police station. “It is up to them whether they listen to us or not. We can only tell them it’s not safe; there is no law we can use to stop them.”

A 2016 study found there were more selfie-related deaths reported in India than any other country. Of the 127 people who died from taking dangerous selfies in 2014 and 2015, more than 76 were in India, the research said.

Most deaths occurred because people sought to take unique self portraits from great heights, in vehicles, or on water, such as a 2014 incident in which seven people died while trying to take a selfie on a lake in Maharashtra. They tipped the boat and drowned.

In January, a man in Hyderabad state tried to film himself inches from a passing train but misjudged the distance and was severely injured.

Earlier this month an Indian couple died in California’s Yosemite national park after setting up a camera too close to a cliff. It is thought they slipped or were blown off the edge by a strong wind.

Both the state of Goa and the city of Mumbai have tried erecting “no-selfie zones” to prevent deaths in risky areas.