The MSF course minimum is helmet, gloves, shoes/boots covering the ankles, and long sleeve shirt and pants.
My commute is 8 urban miles, no speed limit above 35MPH but still I consider my minimum to be:
Full face helmet
leather or similar motorcycle gloves
abrasion resistant pants
I just think about what would happen if I wrecked at 40MPH and its not hard to convince yourself to armor up.
In LA mesh jacket and pants are probably a good idea. Try to get some with ballistic nylon at the contact points.