An annual cycling event attracting 18,000 people to Birmingham city centre has been axed by the city council.

Birmingham has withdrawn from this year’s Sky Ride, backed by Sky and organised in partnership with British Cycling, after the city council was unable to arrange a suitable date to run the event.

Last year the council was awarded £17 million by the Department for Transport to create safer cycle networks.

Since launching in 2010 the Sky Ride has become a highlight in Birmingham’s calendar, closing major roads so that for one day each year thousands of residents can tour the city by bike with no motor traffic.

The council claims cycling is still one of Birmingham’s priorities and says it hopes to be able to organise a return of the popular Sky Ride next year.

The council said in a statement: “This year we have had difficulties in securing a date and a suitable route so we have regrettably had to withdraw from the 2014 Sky Ride Event.

''Our partnership with British Cycling is particularly important as cycling is one of our identified priority sports and we are working with them to establish a new route and date for the Sky Ride Event in 2015.”

Fourteen other cities, including Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield, will be hosting Sky Rides this summer.