A naked bike ride has been branded “indecent” and “sleazy” by city leaders who want it scrapped.

Nearly a thousand people are planning to pedal through Brighton and Hove as “bare as you dare” to raise awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists.

It would be the fifth time the June 13 event, which is fast becoming a firm favourite in the city’s calendar, has taken place.

But council leader Councillor Mary Mears has written to Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, city commander for Brighton and Hove, to formally register the council’s opposition to the naked bike ride.

In a letter seen by The Argus, Coun Mears said: “I find it very hard to accept the interpretation that riding through the city naked is not technically a breach of the indecency laws.

“This is an event that will be seen wittingly or unwittingly by large numbers of our residents and visitors, many of whom will be young children.

“At the very least, this event will lower the tone of the city and at worst, will cause great offence and damage our reputation with visitors.”

The proposed ride, which has been approved by Sussex Police, has also been criticised by several Conservative councillors including Dawn Barnett, David Smart and Trevor Alford.

Nick Sayers, one of the organisers of the event, which asks riders to dress as “bare as they dare” said 800 people had already signed up on Facebook.

He said: “The bike ride has a reputation as a fun, family-friendly, carnival experience.

“The serious point we are making is how vulnerable cyclists are.

“What is really indecent are the levels of pollution in the city and the number of life endangering vehicles there are on our roads.

“The whole protect the children excuse just seems to me a way for these prudes to project their body issues on to somebody else.”

Chief Inspector Simon Nelson said they had seen few complaints or associated crime in previous years.

He said: “It is not being naked that would be an offence, it is more about the behaviour of the person that is associated with that and whether someone was being intentionally indecent.

“This is the fifth year of the event and you have to bear in mind that this is a public demonstration and so they have a right to hold it as long as it is conducted in a peaceful manner.