As far as pushing the pedal goes to start, that's a good safety feature in my opionion. My F-350 won't go in gear without the pedal depressed, same with the wifes Merc. So hitting the pedal will grow on you pretty quick.
I agree about the parking brake. And will add, never allow an over zealous 16 y/o son to set the brake. It takes mechanical surgery to get it released, and the patience of Job to get it to catch there after.
I was in the field last fall and had set my brake, it some way released, and away went the Ranger. It came to an abrupt stop against a small oak tree, which knocked a nice size dent, square / center of the grill guard. ugh!
So the grill guard is, a good investment.