Being that "Health and Safety" have decreed that this Bug won't crank unless the clutch is all the way to the floor; I don't guess I'd have a problem with the car starting in gear.It shouldn't go anywhere with the handbrake on unless it's in poor condition. I would leave it in gear on a hill, but on the flat it'll be perfectly fine.
That's how we've done it for years and years here in the UK without any trouble.
It would be more dangerous to forget it was in gear and start the car for it to leap forwards or backwards.
Oops, friend, you got that one backwards. If the car rolled in 5th, which is much more likely than being able to roll in 1st gear, by the way, it would "spin" the engine much slower than if it were in 1st.As to why they suggest 1st gear instead of 5th, I expect that’s to reduce any impact to the engine if the car actually did roll (5th gear spins engine faster).