New Bike and Gear
Welcome to this site! Lots of good info and conversations/debates. I never want to scare a possible new rider away, but there is a good chance you will see pavement in your first year or two. This only applies if you plan on riding fast. The good news is you probably won't be smeared all over the road. Most riders with gear will walk away. So, here goes two pieces of advice.
One is buy and use the gear. Here's my basic suit-up. If I ride with friends and know I'll be pushing it hard, I use full gear including armor (I don't have a back protector, but plan to get one). If I'm just out riding, at least jacket with no armor, racing gloves and helmet. Riding to work, same as previous. Riding home (hotter), jacket may not be zipped all the way, and I wear lighter summer gloves and, of course my helmet.
As for the bike, I wouldn't even think new. Between the bike cost and insurance, it's not worth it. Get a used bike for your first. If cost is a BIG problem, I'd wait till winter (not spring like you mentioned) to buy, you will probably save 10% to 20%. You should be able to pike up a bike around 10 years old (600 to 750cc) for $2500 to $3500. This means you might save $500 max if you wait till winter. If it were me, I'd buy it now....So start looking!